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North can make hydrogen bomb base: Hecker

June 28,2017
North Korea has the ability to produce tritium internally, a basic element for making hydrogen bombs, although the country has yet to weaponize it, an American nuclear expert said Tuesday.

“The evidence is quite clear that North Korea is able to produce tritium, which is necessary for a hydrogen bomb to create fusion. So you need tritium when you are going to have hydrogen bombs,” Siegfried Hecker, a professor at Stanford University, told a group of journalists here. During his 2010 trip to North Korea, he was allowed to take a look into the country’s uranium-enrichment facility in Yongbyon.

North Korea claimed it used a hydrogen bomb when it conducted its fourth nuclear test in January last year, although it has not been proven.

“I believe they have made tritium. In fact, last year there have been some indications they were trying to market a key ingredient for making tritium, something called lithium-6… So it’s clear they know how to make tritium. We know that’s official,” he noted.

Also citing commercial satellite imagery, Hecker also said that the nuclear expert also said that North Korea is adding at least one more tritium production facility to an old facility.

But he was negative about North Korea being able to weaponize the material. “They can make tritium so they have the basic element for a hydrogen bomb. But it takes much more than that to weaponize hydrogen bombs. I don’t believe they can do that [yet].”

Yonhap