North Korea reactor restart sets back denuclearization

Siegfried Hecker, a senior fellow at CISAC, writes in this commentary for the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists that North Korea's decision to restart its 5-megawatt nuclear reactor is a big step back for denuclearization.

"The most likely technical scenario is that the North Koreans will operate the restarted 5-megawatt reactor for two years with a full load of 8,000 fuel rods, cool this spent fuel and extract roughly 10 to 12 kilograms of plutnoium within three years," he writes.

Therefore, he expects Pyongyang to gain one bomb's worth of plutonium a year.