Norks supplied Libya with uranium

NY Times:

nternational inspectors have discovered evidence that North Korea secretly provided Libya with nearly two tons of uranium in early 2001, which if confirmed would be the first known case in which the North Korean government has sold a key ingredient for manufacturing atomic weapons to another country, according to American officials and European diplomats familiar with the intelligence. recent weeks the International Atomic Energy Agency has found strong evidence that the uranium came from North Korea, basing its conclusion on interviews of members of the secret nuclear supplier network set up by Abdul Qadeer Khan, the former head of Pakistan's main nuclear laboratory. Two years ago, the United States charged that North Korea was working to build its own uranium-based nuclear weapons, which would require the same raw materials.

The uranium shipped to Libya could not be used as nuclear fuel unless it was enriched in centrifuges, which the Libyans were constructing as part of a $100 million program to purchase equipment from the Khan network.

If enriched, the fuel Libya obtained could produce a single nuclear weapon, experts say. But the Libyan discovery suggests that North Korea may be capable of producing far larger quantities, especially because the country maintains huge mines that the Federation of American Scientists has described as "four million tons of exploitable high-quality uranium."


In recent months, intelligence agencies in Europe and in the United States have picked up indications that North Korea has nuclear ties not only to Libya but also to Iran, which has embarked on a sprawling nuclear effort that Iran claims is peaceful but was also secretly aided for many years by Dr. Khan and his atomic black market.

While the story does not mention it, this discovery adds to the arguement for missile defense to protect Demcrat voting cities on the West Coast.


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