So why does North Korea need more Uranium production capacity now?
"One possibility is that North Korea will enrich the uranium to expand its stockpile of nuclear weapons," Lewis said.
Another possibility was that the uranium would be used for production of fuel for an Experimental Light Water Reactor under construction at its Yongbon nuclear research facility and future light-water reactors based on that model, Lewis added.
I have a third possibility to offer. Perhaps the work being done over the last year has been in anticipation of a new paying customer:
I've long worried that a nuclear deal with Iran will fail to consider that Iran is likely outsourcing some parts of their nuclear program. But what if I'm thinking small?
What if North Korea sells Iran nuclear missiles and rents the facilities in North Korea to launch them?
From North Korea, these missiles could reach Europe, Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan, and a number of targets in America. So Iran doesn't need to have the missiles inside Iran, really.
Iran will have the money. (And Iran's chief nutball's "slush fund" has been unchained.)
Oh sure, our intelligence people have all the confidence in the world that they can detect cheating:
U.S. intelligence officials say they are confident they can verify Iran's compliance with the recently completed nuclear deal, despite a track record of misjudgments about weapons of mass destruction. ...
As part of the deal, Iran agreed to disclose nearly every element of its nuclear supply chain, including people, places, companies and infrastructure — "their entire nose-to-tail process for uranium production and processing," as one U.S. intelligence official put it, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly.
Even if I accept the farcical notion that the inspections program under President Obama's nuclear deal with Iran can easily detect Iranian cheating, the inspectors will be looking inside Iran. If I may state the obvious, Iran's partner, North Korea, is under no such intrusive scrutiny.
Have a super sparkly day.
UPDATE: Let's sleep well at night knowing we put our best man on the nuclear verification issue:
I don't recall where I got that picture. But I've used it before. Sleep well. If you can.
UPDATE: Straight outta uranium? I don't think so.
Straight outta credibility is more like it.
With thanks to these guys and atomicarchives.com for the picture.
UPDATE: I'm not the only one thinking of North Korea as Iran's non-covered path to nuclear weapons:
A covert path to the bomb, entailing the procurement of materiel from foreign suppliers, still remains open to Iran, if it chooses to take that route.
If it does, the Islamic Republic will invariably look to Asia. That’s because over the past three decades, Iran and the Stalinist regime of the Kim dynasty in North Korea have erected a formidable alliance—the centerpiece of which is cooperation on nuclear and ballistic-missile capabilities. ...
Now, the Iranian-North Korean alliance is poised to take a major leap forward. Under the terms of the JCPOA, Iran will need to disclose key information regarding its military-related nuclear work to the International Atomic Energy Agency in the coming months. Once it does, the Islamic Republic will reap an unprecedented financial windfall, totaling $100 billion or more—equivalent to roughly a quarter of Iran’s total annual GDP.
That money will dramatically increase Iran’s purchasing power globally, including its ability to pursue a clandestine path to the bomb. It will also make Tehran, already an important strategic partner, even more indispensable to the cash-strapped regime in Pyongyang.
Yet Nobel Peace Prizes will likely be passed out for this deal.