Namhŭng Youth Chemical Complex

View All North Korea Facilities

Last Updated: March 1, 2003
Other Name: 남흥청년화학연합기업소; Namhŭng Youth Chemical Factory; Namhŭng Youth Chemical Plant (남흥청년화학공장); Namhŭng Youth Complex (남흥청년연합기업소)
Location: Anju (안주시), South P'yŏng'an Province (평안남도), North Korea
Subordinate To: 5th Machine Industry Bureau (제5기계산업총국), Second Economic Committee (제2경제위원회) for chemical weapons production, and the Ministry of Chemical Industry (화학공업성) for civilian production
Size: Annual chemical production capacity of approximately 550,000 tons (combined), including 400,000 tons of urea; anticipated (2001) production capacity of 20,000 tons per year for synthetic fibers (e.g., Orlon) and resins
Facility Status: Unknown

Constructed in 1976, this facility was originally built with French, Japanese, and (West) German equipment. As of 1998, it was the only petrochemical plant in North Korea capable of processing seven different hydrocarbon products, including naphtha and ethylene. Naphtha is brought in from the Sŭngni and Ponghwa chemical factories. New equipment has been brought in (2000) to produce sodium carbonate, and plans in 2001 called for the manufacture of Orlon, polyethylene, propylene resins at a capacity of 20,000 tons per year. The Namhŭng Youth Complex has a French-built polyethylene production facility that uses intermediates of propylene and butane. There is also equipment imported from Japan that is used to produce ethylene, ethylene oxide, and ethylene glycol. This facility obtains its electricity from the Ch'ŏngch'ŏn River Thermoelectric Power Plant, which is about 4km away. Considering the ethylene oxide production capacity, it is plausible that blister agents (such as mustard) or their immediate precursors could be produced here. Otherwise, it is difficult to discern the clear relationship between this plant and ongoing CW activity in North Korea. The 16th Nuclear Chemical Defense Battalion under the Nuclear Chemical Defense Bureau is reportedly billeted here and in reserve status.

Images of the Namhŭng Youth Chemical Complex

Outside view* [1]

Refinery columns* [2]

Production of urea* [3]

Pyrolysis shop, gas compressors* [4]

Process control room for
(presumably) urea production* [5]

Urea fertilizers are mass produced* [6]

[1] FBIS Report, "DPRK Namhung Youth Chemical Complex, Suspect CW Site, Profiled," 8 June 2001, in FBIS Document KPP20010608000129.
[2] Ki Yong Sam, "Namhung Youth Chemical Complex," Korea Today, in English, August 1999, p. 24, transcribed in FBIS Document FTS19990910001303.
[3] Kim Yong-chun, Kook Pang Ilbo, 3 December 1999, p. 3, in "Has North Korea Chosen Chemical and Germ War Instead of Nuclear War?" FBIS Document ID: FTS19991212000879.
[4] Kim Yong Yun, Pukhan, December 1998, pp. 132-143, in "North Korean Chemical Industry," FBIS Document ID: FTS19981230001322.
[5] Osamu Eya, Kimu Jon Iru Daizukan (Tokyo: Shogakkan, 2000), p. 65.
[6] Osamu Eya, Kimu Jon Iru Daizukan(Tokyo: Shogakkan, 2000), pp. 64-65, in "Alleged Locations of DPRK Nuclear, Biological, Chemical Warfare Facilities Mapped," 6 June 2001, FBIS Document ID: KPP20010606000075.
[7] North Korea Information Bank, "Namhŭngch'ŏngnyŏnyonhapkiŏpso," Hyundai Research Institute, 2000,
[8] Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency, "Pukhanŭi Sŏg'yuhwahakkong'ŏp," 2000,
[9] Han Chong Ho, "A Sodium-Carbonate Pilot Plant Built," P'yongyang Times, in English, 18 November 2000, p. 3, in FBIS Document KPP20001228000099.

*Image Sources:
[1] Foreign Trade of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, January 1994.
[2] Democratic People's Republic of Korea, March 1993.
[3] Korea Today, March 1995.
[4] Photograph is described in the North Korean media as "gas compressors in the pyrolysis shop," Foreign Trade of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, January 1994.
[5] Korea Today, March 1995.
[6] Photograph is captioned "Urea Fertilizers are Mass Produced," Democratic People's Republic of Korea, March 1993.

Country Profile
Flag of North Korea
North Korea

This article provides an overview of North Korea's historical and current policies relating to nuclear, chemical, biological and missile proliferation.

Learn More →

This material is produced independently for NTI by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of and has not been independently verified by NTI or its directors, officers, employees, or agents. Copyright 2019.