Bakcheon Uranium Milling Facility

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Last Updated: June 1, 2005
Other Name: 박천우라늄제련시설; Pakch'ŏn-kun Uranium Ore Milling Facility; April Industrial Enterprise; April Industrial Company (4월기업소); Unjŏn-kun April Industrial Enterprise; Unjŏn-kun April Industrial Company (운전군4월기업소)*
Location: P'akch'ŏn-kun (박천군), North P'yŏng'an Province (평안북도), North Korea
Subordinate To: Pakch'ŏn Branch of the Atomic Energy Research Institute (원자력연구소박천분소), Yŏngbyŏn Nuclear Research Center (영변원자력센터), General Department of Atomic Energy (원자력총국), Cabinet (내각)
Size: Unknown
Facility Status: Unknown

*Note: Defector Kim Tae Ho claims there is a milling facility called the "Unjŏn-kun April Industrial Enterprise." Unjon-kun is adjacent to P'akch'ŏn-kun, and this is almost certainly the same facility.

This is essentially a uranium milling facility, but originally it processed graphite, phosphate, and other substances. In 1982, it was modified to produce uranium concentrate. Most of the uranium ore processed here has came from the Sunch'ŏn Uranium Mine, but there are reports that this milling facility has also processed uranium ore from mines in Kŭmch'ŏn and Hwangsan. According to Kim Tae Ho, the uranium concentrate produced here is then shipped to the "August Industrial Enterprise" in the Yŏngbyŏn Nuclear Complex for "enrichment" and fuel fabrication. [Note: Kim Tae Ho used the word "농축," which literally means "enrichment." However, this term is often confused with the word "변환," which mean "conversion." The uranium is actually sent to the Yŏngbyŏn Fuel Fabrication Plant, which is also known as the August Industrial Enterprise, for conversion and fuel fabrication.] This facility has an annual capacity of 210 metric tons of uranium (MTU), but it was reportedly closed in 1992. During a press conference in April 1992, an official from the North Korean Ministry of Atomic Energy Industry confirmed that North Korea was operating uranium milling facilities in Pyŏngsan-kun and Pakch'ŏn-kun.

Sources:
[1] "Namhan'ŭl Wihyŏphanŭn Pukhan'ŭi Mullihakjadŭl," Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute, www.kaeri.re.kr.
[2] ROK Ministry of Unification, Pukhan Kaeyo 2000 (Seoul: Ministry of Unification, 1999), pp. 413-414.
[3] Chang Chun Ik, Pukhan Haek-Missile Chŏnjaeng, (Seoul: Sŏmundang, 1999), pp. 132-133.
[4] Kim Pyŏng Ku et al., Pukhaekkisulch'ongsŏ-I (Taejŏn: Technology Center for Nuclear Control, Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute, November 1999), www.tcnc.kaeri.re.kr.
[5] Lee Yong U, "'Uranium T'amsa Tŭng Haekkaebal Hyŏl'an'/Pukhansŏ Kwisunhan 3 Myŏng Kijahwoegyŏn," Segye Ilbo, 10 May 1994, p. 26, in KINDS, www.kinds.or.kr.
[6] Son Sŏng Jin, 'Pyongyang Uranium Kongjang Ch'ulshin T'alch'ulja Kim Tae Ho Ssi Chŭng'ŏn," Taehan Maeil, 13 May 1994, p. 5, in KINDS, www.kinds.or.kr.
[7] North Korea Yearbook 2002 (Seoul: Yonhap News Agency, 2001) Chapter 8.
[8] Mun Ch'ang Jae, "'Puk, Yŏngbyŏnwŏnjaro Modu 5 Kae'/Wŏnjaryŏkbu Kanbu," Hankook Ilbo, 15 April 1992, p. 1, in KINDS, www.kinds.or.kr.
[9] Joseph S. Bermudez, Jr., "Exposing North Korea's Nuclear Infrastructure--Part One," Jane's Intelligence Review, 1 February 1999, p. 40.
[10] Joseph S. Bermudez, Jr., "North Korea's Nuclear Infrastructure," Jane's Intelligence Review, 1 February 1994, pp. 76-77.

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