CIA Director General Michael Hayden stuck to the size estimate of the Al Kibar yesterday, comparing it to Yongbyon:
“In the course of a year after they got full up, they would have produced enough plutonium for one or two weapons,” Hayden told reporters after a speech.
The reactor was of a “similar size and technology” to North Korea’s Yongbyon reactor, Hayden said, disputing speculation it was smaller than the Korean facility.
“We would estimate that the production rate there would be about the same as Yongbyon, which is about enough plutonium for one or two weapons per year,” he said.
(via Total Wonkerr)
The CIA estimates that Yongbyon produces “about 6 kg per year” of plutonium. (I think it is a stretch to call that one “or two” weapons per year but whatever.)
So, the IC must really think it is the same size.
A couple of summary points about the How Big Was Al Kibar post:
- The ratio of entry points for the fuel and control rods is 61:97. Extrapolating capacity from the number of entry points is not straightforward, but capacity if the entry points imply a proportional number of fuel and control rods, the reactor could be significantly smaller than Yongbyon.
- On the other hand, the core could still be the same size, of course, just with fewer entry points. I took a quick look at the collapsed concrete containment vessel and came up with like 10 meters — a little tight for a Yongbyon-sized pressure vessel (884 centimeters), but not clearly impossible. That estimate could easily be off by 1 or 2 meters.
This is all very interesting. Thoughts?