My seventh trip to North Korea in seven years produced another surprise -- North Korea decided to build its own light-water reactor and uranium enrichment facility. During my first visit I was shown plutonium produced in its Yongbyon nuclear complex to convince me they have the bomb. For more than 30 years, Pyongyang has moved along parallel paths of nuclear energy and nuclear weapons, opting to chose bombs over electricity. I will discuss how North Korea got the bomb, why it got it, and the prospects of whether or not it will give up the bomb. Finally, I will try to show with photos and stories of how North Korea is not such a hermit kingdom after all.
Siegfried S. Hecker isco-director of the Stanford University Center for International Security and Cooperation, Senior Fellow of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, and Professor (Research) in the Department of Management Science and Engineering. He is also director emeritus at the Los Alamos NationalLaboratory, where he served as director from 1986-1997 and senior fellow until July 2005. He received his B.S., M.S., and PhD degrees in metallurgy from Case Western Reserve University. His current professional interests include plutonium research, cooperative nuclear threat reduction with the Russian nuclear complex, and global nonproliferation and counter terrorism. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a foreign member of the Russian Academy of Sciences. He is a fellow of numerous professional societies and recently received the Presidential Enrico Fermi Award.