North Korea destroys nuclear cooling tower

Friday, June 27, 2008

A CNN producer reported that the North Korean authorities did indeed destroy the cooling tower of the Yongbyong nuclear facility and admitted on global television that they did extract plutonium in the said facility to build nuclear weapons.

Five television networks from countries party to the six-nation talks that constructively engaged North Korea to disengage in its nuclear weapons program were invited into the country to cover and televise the destruction of the cooling towers.

Specialists in nuclear science confirmed that the implosion of the cooling tower will prevent North Korean from processing plutonium for about a year. It will take at least twelve months to rebuild the cooling tower if the North Koreans intend to pursue its nuclear weapons building program.

The destruction of the cooling tower is seen as a gesture of the Pyongyang leadership to finally comply to pressures coming from the West, particularly the United States for the communist run government to end pursuing its nuclear weapons program.

The facilities at Yongbyong was shuttered July of last year as part of talks with dialog partners; China, Japan, South Korea, Russia, and the United States.

The cooling tower is approximately 20 meters in height and has been in operation since March 2003 until July of last year. The destruction of the tower is viewed as a symbolic gesture since the entire facility has been scheduled for scrapping.

On Thursday, North Korea turned over to China a 60-page document confirming the country's capability to control the power of plutonium since the program was started in 1986.

In the said document, Pyongyang confirmed that their research resulted in the extraction of 40 kilograms of enriched plutonium, enough to produce at least seven nuclear warheads.

An actual accounting of North Korea's possession of live nuke weapons was not included in the report presented to China and remains as a speculation.

Also missing were reports and confirmation of North Korea's assistance to Syria in the later's own nuclear weapons program as well as reports of Pyongyang's uranium enrichment program.