On the Question of Another North Korean Centrifuge Plant and the Suspect Kangsong Plant

by David Albright

May 25, 2018

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As referenced in a May 25, 2018 Washington Post story, please see the full set of slides above.

Summary: Suspect Kangsong Enrichment Plant

  • We have learned of a suspect gas centrifuge site, in addition to the one at the Yongbyon Nuclear Center, that has the name of Kangsong. It may have other names as well.

  • We have not located this site, although we received a description of the building from more than two independent governmental sources. Its operation allegedly started several years ago.

  • If it is a centrifuge plant, we are unaware of any information on how well it has operated.
    The original information about this site came from a defector several years ago who stated he worked near this site. Defector information must be confirmed. However, we have received the names of other alleged centrifuge sites that we viewed as less credible than the information about Kangsong. Moreover, this site appears to have received greater foreign governmental scrutiny and credibility than the other sites, particularly by the United States.

  • The exact number of centrifuges in the secret facility is difficult to predict but we have been told that governments estimate that it could contain 6,000-12,000 P2 centrifuges, the type seen in the Yongbyon centrifuge plant in 2010, when a group of Americans briefly visited this facility.

  • An early centrifuge plant can have substantial operational difficulties. Although we accept the governmental estimates, based on the size of the plant and procurement information, in our assessments, we treat the plant as having operated, on average, several thousand centrifuges for several years.

  • Not all government analysts agree that it is a centrifuge site. Although there appears to be more information than just a defector report, some aspects of the building are not consistent with a centrifuge plant, leading senior officials in at least one government to not believing this facility is a centrifuge plant.

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