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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Hungnam Chemical Engineering College
Hungnam Fertilizer Complex

By early 2017 there were concerns North Korea has built and is running a plant to produce the key ingredient that makes hydrogen bombs. The Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security said 17 March 2017 the plant appeared be located at the Hungnam Chemical Complex on North Korea's east coast.

It said that North Korea placed an order with China in 2012 to buy large amounts of mercury and lithium hydroxide, the key materials needed to produce lithium 6. That's the material needed for the production of single-stage thermonuclear weapons. The report said the North's attempts to develop thermonuclear weapons could be successful given more time and testing.

The latest revelation came a matter of weeks after the UN Security Council said North Korea had attempted to sell lithium 6, an indication the regime was producing more of it than it needs in its nuclear weapons program.

The Chemical Directorate Training Department organizes combat training of chemical warfare units and subunits as well as specialist training. It coordinates with other entities of the directorate on a number of questions and directly oversees the chemical warfare school, officer schools and training regiments, particularly the Hungnam Chemical Engineering College, which trains officer cadres for chemical warfare troops and at the same time performs functions of an NBC center.

North Korea has at least eight industrial facilities that can produce chemical agents; however, the production rate and types of munitions are uncertain. Presumably one or more of the agents [sarin, tabun, phosgene, adamsite, prussic acid and a family of mustard gases] comprising the basis of North Korean chemical weapons are produced at the Hungnam Fertilizer Complex, probably asphyxiating and tear agents.

Uranium deposits near Hungnam are reportedly being mined to supply uranium for North Korea's nuclear weapons programs, though the precise location and details of this operation have not been publicly reported.

The first cyclotron in Korea was built at Hungnam (by the Japanese in 1943-4). This Japanese plant in Hungnam was captured by Soviet troops at the end of the Second World War.

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Page last modified: 31-03-2017 19:46:03 ZULU