When the Cold War began heating up in the 1950s, an expert in nuclear strategy named Henry Kissinger turned his theory of “delicate balance of terror” into policy. The idea was that threatening the Soviet Union with nuclear annihilation will keep them in check. Likewise, the Kremlin had its own weapons of mass destruction pointed towards the United States. It was essentially the nuclear version of a standoff.
Today, there are nine nations with nuclear weapons: China, Israel, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, United States, India, North Korea and Pakistan. The Russian Federation leads the pack with 7,300 nuclear weapons, of which 1,790 are operational. The United States is a close second with an estimated 6,970 total nuclear weapons.
While tension between Russia and the United States have been high recently due to possible election influence by Russia, and Putin’s support for Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, the two Cold War foes have not had
According to New York Times, an American nuclear scientist said that North Korea secretly and speedily built a large new facility to enrich uranium.
Siegfried Hecker, the scientist, told NY Times in an interview that he was “stunned” by the sophistication of the enrichment facility which included hundreds of newly installed centrifuges which he described as “ultra-modern control room.”
Hecker is a professor at Stanford University and former director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory. He privately informed the White House of his findings a few days ago, said the newspaper in an account published late Saturday on its Web site.
Hecker previously described the construction by the North Korean regime of an experimental light-water reactor, confirming satellite photographs that had recently been made public.
But Hecker has made no mention of the discovery of a new uranium enrichment operation that can be used to produce weapons grade material. He told the NY Times that the North Koreans claimed 2,000 centrifuges had already been installed and were running.
It was not made unclear as to why the North provided Hecker with access to the facility and attempts to reach him were unsuccessful.
During the last international inspection was made, US officials are certain no such facility existed in April 2009.
The Obama administration could use the information gathered by Hecker as evidence that North Korea continues to forge ahead with its nuclear program in violation of United Nations mandates.