Methods for Refining Estimates of Cumulative DRPK Uranium Production
David von Hippel
Nautilus Institute Senior Associate
PSNA Working Paper Series (PSNA-WP-8)
May 27, 2019
This paper summarizes the history of what is known about uranium mining in the DPRK; describes the major uncertainties regarding DPRK uranium production; notes some of the key techniques, as used in preparing estimates of nuclear sector activity in other nations, that might be available to assist in narrowing the range of estimates of DPRK uranium and processed fissile material production; summarizes estimates of enriched uranium and plutonium production prepared by other authors; describes existing estimates of the amounts of fissile materials used in nuclear weapons tests and exported; provides a demonstration of the potential impact of remote sensing methods and testing in the DPRK in reducing uncertainties in cumulative historical uranium production, and thus in fissile materials inventories; and, offers conclusions, resulting from the potential impacts of uncertainty reduction approaches, as to which verification procedures should be key targets during negotiations with the DPRK.