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South Korea could develop nuclear weapons within six months

According to unnamed military officials, South Korea might not have started its nuclear industry to build weapons, but if it wants, it could develop nuclear weapons in six months using existing technology alone, reports the Munhwa Ilbo.

What makes this claim possible, said the Munhwa Ilbo, is that Korea’s got 23 commercial reactors in operation, which makes Korea one of the world’s top five commercial nuclear powers. This also means Korea can produce tons of highly enriched nuclear material for weapons, be it highly enriched uranium or, with reprocessing facilities, plutonium.

As I like to say, happiness is a complete fuel cycle.

The Munhwa Ilbo notes that the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI) extracted 6 g of plutonium from a research reactor in 1982, and in 2004, KAERI won Korea some IAEA inspections after it was learned they’d separated 0.2 grams of enriched uranium in 2000. South Korea currently has about 10,000 tons of spent nuclear fuel stored at nuclear power stations around the country.

Some SNU nuclear engineering professor told the Munhwa Ilbo that Korea’s laser enrichment technology is pretty top notch, and that in an emergency, Seoul has the financial and technical capacity to pump out nuclear weapons in a short amount of time.

Marmot’s Note: Boy, this isn’t the kind of thing you’d want your military officials to say to the press. Unless it’s the kind of thing you want your military officials to say to the press.

About the author: Just the administrator of this humble blog.

  • wangkon936

    “Can we make nukes too?” is a natural question that would come up if your neighbor to the north keeps saying that they want to turn your country into a “Sea of Fire.”

  • yangachibastardo

    Good, props to the Korean nuclear industry

  • keyinjpop

    I agree Robert, they should have stayed hush on the matter. Now they can’t use the element of surprise.

  • http://www.zenkimchi.com/FoodJournal ZenKimchi

    They’ll develop nukes in 6 months, and 6 months later be sued by Apple for stealing its designs.

    Thank you, everyone! I’ll be at the Ha-Ha House in Fresno on the 25th. Tip your servers.

  • Horace Jeffery Hodges

    They were misunderstood. They meant “Sea of Ire.”

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

  • http://www.eurowon.com/ Felipe OI

    “This isn’t the kind of thing you’d want your military officials to say to the press. Unless it’s the kind of thing you want your military officials to say to the press”. That explains all. Best Marmot’s Note ever! hahaha

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    Make the nukes already. And if China objects tell them to their face “You failed to control North Korea, now its too bad for you.”

  • SomeguyinKorea

    There you have it. I’ve said it for years. But 6 months? Take that as meaning they could have one ready in an even shorter amount of time. I frankly wouldn’t be surprised if they already have a device, armed or not. Nuclear weapons are a greater deterrent if you let people guessing whether you have them or not.

    Case in point…Anyone who knows anything about the history of nuclear weapons knows Canada, along with the UK, helped the US develop its nuclear weapons…and yet Canada was supposedly a nuke free country…That is, until a reporter stumbled upon documents which indicated that Canada had indeed nukes until at least 1985, to which the Canadian government admits to having had nukes “on loan” from the US up until 1985. Does Canada have nukes now? The Canadian government sure ain’t saying.

    As for South Korea…Well, South Korean scientists even been caught doing research a few times since they supposedly quit developing nukes.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Korean_nuclear_research_programs#Post-NPT_Programs

    Remember, it’s not as if we’re talking about advanced tech for South Korean scientists.

  • http://www.rjkoehler.com Robert Koehler

    That’s really what the United States should be telling the Chinese, frankly.

  • http://www.rjkoehler.com Robert Koehler

    We’re all about the laughs here at TMH. See ZenKimchi’s comment above.

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    The US should be telling the Chinese a lot more than that, like “Ooops, we’ve just excluded you from the financial system because you openly aid and abet North Korea. Have fun on the outside, fuckers.”

  • SomeguyinKorea

    South Korea has cruise missiles. Why develop the means to deliver a payload if you don’t have the payload?

  • hardyandtiny

    Six months? They better hurry up, there aren’t many grandmas left to do the manual labor.

  • wangkon936

    Cruise missiles can also deliver conventional payloads as well.

  • wangkon936

    Impossible to do. The U.S. doesn’t have that kind of leverage any more. The Chinese just own too much of U.S. debt.

  • IEatYourSandwich

    You stupid? Cruise missiles are 100% capable of delivering a payload.

    What, you only thought ICBMs are the only type of missiles capable of delivering a radiation zone?

  • que337

    I do not know where they get the number of six months, but the “six months” for nuke development is not unprecedented.

  • Horace Jeffery Hodges

    Or “Seething Ire.” The North Korean accent is sometimes hard to understand . . .

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

  • SomeguyinKorea

    You fkn twit. Learn to read.

  • SomeguyinKorea

    Yes, of course…But tell me why South Korea is developing them? Because South Korea is barred from developing missiles over a certain range and size of payload. There are no such restrictions on cruise missiles. In other words, while South Korea can’t develop ICBMs, it can develop cruise missiles which are capable of carrying a nuclear warhead if they chose to do so.

  • TheKorean

    This is old news, robert.

  • Arghaeri

    Yeah,

    Next time the norks sink a Cheonan class ship, the SK will no longer be able to surprise the norks by not retaliating with nuclear weapons as well as conventional ones.

  • yangachibastardo

    I sense a twist of sarcasm in your own words

  • que337

    I am not sure how they came up with the number, but the “six months” is not unprecedented.

    P.S. why this comment keeps being deleted?

  • redwhitedude

    Since when was US debt ownership an issue of leverage. They own too much debt to unload overnight and have no ripple effects in the international markets. US does have some leverage however on the other side the chinese leverage is overblown.

  • redwhitedude

    Nukes are all about political ego boosting. It isn’t really meant to be used. Only a nutcase would actually advocate using it. If China and NK continue doing what they’ve been doing then the US putting clamps on SK from developing nukes for the sake of nonproliferation is a fallacy. Nukes are there more for politicians to claim that they can stand up to nuclear countries such as China.

  • SomeguyinKorea

    Nope, they meant “Sea of Eire”… They literally want to make South Koreans the Irish of Asia.

  • redwhitedude

    Frankly if the US fails to rein in NK and/or chinese fail to cooperate. SK will continue to nag the US about amending or scrapping that missile control regime and allowing to develop nukes. That’s on the SK side of things.

  • que337

    Finally, China started having a voice of reason for Korean peninsula:

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/9e2f68b2-7c5c-11e2-99f0-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2MEQOC7oH

    If the link does not work, google “China should abandon North Korea” by Deng Yuwen

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