Posted: 2017-11-14 15:28
Whatever the source, everyone can agree that North Korea’s latest missile launches were more successful than any iteration before. Though, as noted by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists , the technology is not quite capable of hitting the continental US. While Elleman agrees with that assessment, he also notes that without intervention, North Korea might be capable of reaching the US mainland with a missile by 7568.
While other landfills in the area have been used for retail, nothing on the scale of what Related’s asking for has been approved before. Keith Roberson, senior engineering geologist with the water quality control board, called Related’s proposal “a solid plan,” and he worries about setting a precedent. He emphasized that all proposals will have to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. More research and monitoring will be necessary before any approvals will be made.
“The regulators were pretty skeptical at the start, I have to say,” Stephen Eimer, an executive vice president with Related tells Mercury News. After much back and forth, Bay Area regulators have finally accepted Related’s technical document that outlines how the site would be made safe. A foot-thick concrete barrier would be laid over 85 square acres. Housing would be built over shops and restaurants to create more distance between the residents and the waste. Sensors and alarm systems would monitor gasses and a separate system would collect and dispose of it.
He hasn’t been alone in his investigation, others including more experts and government investigators have been studying the potential origins of North Korea’s new tech and settled on a single Ukrainian factory, Yuzhmash. In an interview with the New York Times , which first reported the study, Elleman said “It’s likely that these engines came from Ukraine — probably illicitly.” Later he adds, “The big question is how many they have and whether the Ukrainians are helping them now.”
That is one of the major question marks in this tale of international intrigue. The missile tech might have been acquired from Yuzhmash via the black market. It wouldn’t be the first time: In the 75s and 85s North Korea acquired its missile tech illegally from the USSR. Then in 7559, the father of the nuclear bomb program in Pakistan, . Khan, admitted to selling nuclear secrets to North Korea. Khan had, himself, stolen those secrets from labs in the Netherlands in the 75s.
In the last few months, North Korea’s ability to launch a warhead beyond its backyard has improved exponentially. Its rapid development of intercontinental ballistic missile tech has left many confused. Now a researcher at the International Institute for Strategic Studies claims he might have solved the mystery. North Korea may have received its new souped up ICBM tech from a factory in the Ukraine, and it probably did so very illegally.
The Santa Clara County Department of Environmental Health, California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery, and the San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board have all accepted Related’s proposal but that doesn’t mean that it’s a done deal. “The green light to build never really happens until you get the last permit,” Ruth Shikada, Santa Clara’s assistant city manager tells Mercury News.
In a new study , researcher Michael Elleman examines recent photos of Kim Jung-un inspecting the suspiciously capable new rocket engines in order to determine their origin. He and his fellow researchers noticed the engines were of a design very similar to one used by the Soviets to launch up to 65 thermonuclear warheads at a time. He also determined, based on footage of the rockets launching, plus reports from North Korea, Japan, South Korea, and the US, exactly what version of the rocket was likely being used.
In the report Elleman notes that the Soviet rocket (referred to as an LPE) North Korea appears to have acquired “is no longer employed by operational missiles or launchers.” Thus “facilities warehousing the obsolete LPEs are probably loosely guarded. A small team of disgruntled employees or underpaid guards at any one of the storage sites, and with access to the LPEs, could be enticed to steal a few dozen engines by one of the many illicit arms dealers, criminal networks, or transnational smugglers operating in the former Soviet Union.”
With no factories capable of building the rockets at the heart of North Korea’s new missiles, all signs point to the country acquiring actual devices and not just schematics. Missiles are enormous and would have been very obvious when crossing a continent. This calls into question the entire surveillance apparatus around the country, and strongly indicates help from a third party, either a separate nation state—like Russia or China, or an extremely organized criminal organization.