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Josh Rogin and Eli Lake

North Korea's Nukes Are Scarier Than Its Hacks

A new analysis estimates that North Korea could have enough material for 79 nuclear weapons by 2020.
Keeping the military in line.

Keeping the military in line.

Photographer: Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images

While the world’s attention focuses on North Korea’s cyberwar with Sony, the Hermit Kingdom is rapidly increasing its stockpile of nuclear weapons material, with little real pushback from the United States.

A new analysis of North Korea’s nuclear program by a group of top U.S. experts, led by David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security, estimates that North Korea could have enough material for 79 nuclear weapons by 2020. The analysis, part of a larger project called "North Korea's Nuclear Futures" being run by the U.S.-Korea Institute at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced and International Studies, has not been previously published. Albright said the North Korean government is ramping up its production of plutonium and highly enriched uranium, speeding toward an amount that would allow it to build enough nuclear weapons to rival other nuclear states including India, Pakistan and Israel.