I always appreciate it when Jeffrey plugs my scribbling, but I will add something further. “This”:http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2004_01-02/Deconstructed.asp is a more recent article about North Korea’s nuclear programs.
The section on the enrichment program reads:
North Korea denies U.S. charges that it has a gas centrifuge-based uranium-enrichment program. Little is known about this program, including the location of its related facilities. Clandestine centrifuge facilities are widely believed to be more difficult to detect than plutonium-based nuclear programs.
According to U.S. estimates, North Koreaâ€™s uranium-enrichment program appears to be significantly less advanced than its plutonium-based program. North Korea is believed to have procured components for a gas-centrifuge-based uranium-enrichment facility, but there is no publicly available evidence that it has integrated these components into a functioning system capable of producing uranium.
Public CIA assessments about the program have changed significantly during the past year. The CIA said in November 2002 that North Korea was â€œconstructing a centrifuge facility” capable of producing â€œtwo or more nuclear weapons per year,” perhaps as soon as â€œmid-decade.” Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly told Congress in March 2003 that the facility could start producing fissile material in â€œmonths and not years.”
Subsequent CIA reports have been increasingly vague. For example, a “November report covering the last half of 2002″:http://www.odci.gov/cia/reports/721_reports/july_dec2002.htm#5 says only that North Korea â€œhad begun acquiring material and equipment for a centrifuge facility,” with the apparent â€œgoal” of building a plant. Another “November report covering the first half of 2003”:http://www.odci.gov/cia/reports/721_reports/jan_jun2003.htm#5 says nothing about the program.