Report Casts Doubt on N.Korea's Ability to Deploy Nukes

      July 30, 2010 10:59

      North Korea has not demonstrated that it is able to use its nuclear weapons, despite two underground tests in 2006 and 2009, an expert report says. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, a magazine specializing in nuclear issues, made the claim in a "World Nuclear Stockpile Report" published Wednesday.

      It said North Korea has conducted the two tests and produced enough plutonium to make eight to 12 nuclear bombs, but U.S. intelligence agencies believe the North has no missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

      The report categorizes the North among nine nuclear states, and it estimates that they have about 22,400 nuclear warheads. But it reminds readers that Israel, India, Pakistan and North Korea, which are not signatories to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, are not officially recognized as nuclear states.

      According to the report, the number of nuclear weapons possessed by China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, the U.K. and the U.S. dropped slightly from about 23,300 last year as a result of reduction agreements by the U.S. and Russia. Nonetheless, those two countries still have 95 percent of all nuclear weapons in the world.

      Russia topped the list with 12,000 warheads, followed by the U.S. (9,400), France (300), China (240), and the U.K. (225).

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