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International platform for disarmament and non-proliferation dialogue, research, and education

North Korea: Reactors, Bombs, and People

VCDNP hosted a seminar by Dr. Siegfried S. Hecker.
Posted: 15 September 2011

On September 9, 2011 the Vienna Center for Disarmament and Non-Proliferation hosted a seminar by Dr. Siegfried S. Hecker, Co-director, Center for International Security and Cooperation, Stanford University. The seminar is part of the Center's monthly seminar series.

Elena Sokova speaks to seminar attendees
Elena Sokova, VCDNP Executive Director, speaks to seminar attendees

In his presentation entitled "North Korea: Reactors, Bombs, and People," Dr. Hecker discussed his findings from the seven visits he has made to North Korea since 2004 during which he was invited to tour nuclear facilities. In a November 2010 trip, Dr. Hecker was able to tour an industrial-scale uranium-enrichment facility at the Yongbyon Complex. Dr. Hecker voiced serious concerns with North Korea's uranium-enrichment capabilities, further improvements to the design of its nuclear warhead, as well the export of DPRK nuclear technologies and know-how to third countries. Dr. Hecker elaborated that if Pyongyang decides to focus on further development of a smaller plutonium device capable of being fit on a missile, it might proceed with one more nuclear test. In his view, the international community needs to address the most immediate threats from the DPRK nuclear program: "no new bomb, no better bombs, no export" while aiming at denuclearization as a long-term goal.

Dr. Hecker's seminar drew a large number of participants from diplomatic missions, international organizations, academia, and the media in Vienna. His presentation was particularly timely in light of the recently released report by the IAEA Director General to the Board of Governors on the application of safeguards in the DPRK.

Press Coverage

Scientist: NKorea likely to test nukes again
An Associated Press story of the event