Washington, Nov 22 (ANI): Senior US defense officials have said the revelation of North Korea's new uranium enrichment facility is testimony to the fact that the country is to building atomic weapons.
Robert Carlin and two other Stanford University nuclear experts, who were recently has earlier expressed shock after visiting North Korea's Yongbyon nuclear facility, saying that a row of centrifuges have been designed to enrich uranium.
According to the New York Times, the defense officials also dismissed the Pyongyang's claim that it was producing only low-enriched uranium that could not be used in nuclear weapons.
On being asked about his opinion about this claim, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said: "I don't credit that at all." He also argued that the new facility, once it starts operating, could enable North Korea to build "a number" of nuclear devices beyond the 8 to 12 they are now presumed to have.
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen said that for a decade the United States had believed that the North wanted to "head in the direction of additional nuclear weapons," and that the plant shown to Siegfried S. Hecker, a former director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, was its chosen route. But the current revelations have raised a number of questions, he added.
Meanwhile administration officials have said that America had been tracking for a decade suspected efforts by the North to obtain the specialty equipment for centrifuges, the paper said.
Carlin had earlier claimed that the facility is much more advanced than expected.
"It's going to drop like a bombshell. We walked over to the window and we were suddenly surprised to see row after row after row of centrifuges. The North Koreans say it was 2,000. It was a lot," he warned.
North Korea has been subject to international sanctions since it defied world opinion by conducting two nuclear tests and test-firing ballistic missiles in 2006. Earlier this year, the US had intensified sanctions against North Korea in a move designed to punish Pyongyang for sinking a South Korean ship and pursuing nuclear weapons. (ANI)