North Korea's Nuclear Weapons Program [Updated September 28, 2004]   [open pdf - 98KB]

"North Korea's decisions to restart nuclear installations at Yongbyon that were shut down under the U.S.-North Korean Agreed Framework of 1994 and withdraw from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty create an acute foreign policy problem for the United States. Re-starting the Yongbyon facilities opens up a possible North Korean intent to stage a 'nuclear breakout' of its nuclear program and openly produce nuclear weapons. North Korea's actions follow the reported disclosure in October 2002 that North Korea is operating a secret nuclear program based on uranium enrichment and the decision by the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) in November 2002 to suspend shipments of heavy oil to North Korea. North Korea claims that it has nuclear weapons and that it has completed reprocessing of 8,000 nuclear fuel rods. U.S. officials in 2004 stated that North Korea probably had reprocessed most or all of the fuel rods and may have produced 6-8 atomic bombs from them. The main objective of the Bush Administration is to secure the dismantling of North Korea's plutonium and uranium-based nuclear programs. […] The United States pledged to issue a nuclear security guarantee to North Korea as North Korea complied with its 1992 safeguards agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency."

Report Number:
CRS Issue Brief for Congress, IB91141
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