Maj. Win visited the nuclear battalion twice with general officers and also attended briefings at which program goals were discussed.
Mr. Kelley said Myanmar’s program is “poorly planned, unrealistic” and is seeking “the highest and most difficult technologies, such as laser isotope separation, using machine-shop drawings of unprofessional quality and photo evidence of crude items.”
“I don’t think they are doing well,” he added.
The nuclear program reportedly is headed by Ko Ko Oo and managed by the Directorate of Defense Services Science and Technology Research Center (DDSSTRC), which is located in May Myo at the Defense Services Technological Academy.
Two factories — one east of Pyin Oo Lwin; the other near Myaing — are dedicated to making prototypes and special components for the missile and nuclear programs, the report states.
Mark Hibbs of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace said Western intelligence agencies have found hints of undisclosed nuclear research and development activities by Myanmar for several years.
“But until recently at least, these agencies drew a blank on whether there was in fact a coordinated campaign to do a clandestine nuclear program,” he said.
Mr. Hibbs said the new report does not offer any “smoking gun connection” with North Korea. “Without North Korean aid, Myanmar would probably be a lot farther away from producing any nuclear material, setting up and operating a reactor, reprocessing its fuel, or making a weapon,” he said.
Mr. Bolton said more scrutiny is required of activities in Myanmar “before so much progress is made that a nuclear program there, whether its own or someone else’s, becomes unstoppable.”
In 1989, the military junta changed the name of the country from Burma to Myanmar.