Sunday, 15 October 2017

How UK helped Iranian and North Korean nuclear programmes

 was intrigued to read President Trump’s latest outburst linking the ‘bad guys’ in \Iran with the ‘very bad Rocket Man’ in North Korea. (Trump accuses Tehran of colluding with Kim,” 14 October 2017; once his assessment is correct, but not for the reasons he apparently gives.


He says he is asking the US intelligence agencies to investigate the Iran-North Korea WMD technology links. Here is some of what they will find.


The uranium enrichment programmes of both North Korea and Iran have a UK connection. The blueprints of this type of plant were stolen by Pakistani scientist, A Q Khan, from the URENCO enrichment plant in The Netherlands in the early 1970s.

(see David Albright, Peddling Peril,2010 pp 15-28,Free Press, New York)


This plant was -  and remains -  one-third owned by the UK government. The Pakistan government subsequently sold the technology to Iran, who later exchanged it for North Korean Nodong missiles.


A technical delegation from the A Q Khan Research Labs visited North Korea in the summer of 1996. The secret enrichment plant was said to be based in caves near Kumch’ang-ni, 100 miles north of the capital, Pyonyang, where US satellite photos showed tunnel entrances being built. Hwang Jang-yop, a former aid to President Kim Il-sung (the grandfather of the current North Korean President) who defected in 1997, revealed details to Western intelligence investigators

(Levy A, Scott-Clark C Deception: Pakistan, the United States, and the Global Weapons Conspiracy, 2007, p.281, Atlantic Books)



Olli Heinonen, senior fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University has explained how North Korea obtained its uranium enrichment capability He wrote six  years ago:


“History and hindsight have shown a consistency in North Korea’s efforts to develop its own nuclear capability. Throughout the 1970s, North Korea continued to develop its nuclear capabilities, pursuing a dual track approach that was consistent with the idea of nuclear self-reliance. While engaging in discussions to obtain Light Water Reactors (LWRs) from the Soviet Union, North Korea proceeded with parallel studies on graphite moderated gas cooled reactors, using publicly available information based on the [British]  Magnox reactor design."


Furthermore, a detailed article in the world re-known Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists by Dr Siegfried Hecker, former director of the US Los Alamos National Nuclear weapons laboratories and now Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies Research Professor of Management Science and Engineering, pointed out  that “Deliveries of P-1 and P-2 centrifuges, special oils, and other equipment from Pakistan to North Korea in the late 1990s were acknowledged by former Pakistani President General P. Musharraf in his memoirs, “In the Line of Fire.” President Musharraf also wrote that, separately, North Korean engineers were provided training at A.Q. Khan’s Research Laboratories in Kahuta under the auspices of a government-to-government deal on missile technology that had been established in 1994.

He added: “In 2002/2003, North Korea successfully procured large quantities of high strength aluminum from Russia and the United Kingdom, another requirement in making centrifuges.”

(“Redefining Denuclearization in North Korea, The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, December 20, 2010;  ;

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