When the United States broke off cease-fire talks with Russia over the war in Syria (after the Russian air force continued to bomb civilians in Aleppo), Russian President Vladimir Putin retaliated by suspending a nearly two-decades old arms agreement to get rid of his country’s extra weapons-grade plutonium.
North Korea is the only country to test a nuclear weapon this century. The isolated pariah state, ruled by totalitarian Kim Jong-un, proudly boasts of its military and technological accomplishments. With much of the outside world cut off, it’s hard to vett how much progress, if any, the country is making on nuclear weapons until it tests them, but satellite images give some evidence that work is underway. And according to the United Nations nuclear watchdog, new evidence shows the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea is back at work, processing plutonium.
The physicists who invented the nuclear bomb worked out of Los Alamos in California, but the people who did the dirty work of making the bombs were in Hanford, Washington. Throughout the Cold War, Hanford churned out plutonium for our nuclear arsenal. It was also, conveniently, a place to experiment with radiation.