NewsNuclear Weapons in North Korea - “Worrying” Observations

Nuclear Weapons in North Korea – “Worrying” Observations

Satellite imagery suggests that North Korea has repeatedly restarted a potentially dangerous nuclear reactor.

Pyongyang – For the first time in three years, satellite images point to activity in the previously decommissioned nuclear reactor in Nyongbyon, which is widely believed to be the largest nuclear facility in North Korea. This emerges from a report that the International Atomic Energy Agency IAEA published on Friday (August 27, 2021), as reported by the news portal, which specializes in North Korea. Because the plant can also process plutonium for the construction of nuclear weapons, the control authorities rate their observation as extremely “worrying”.

One of the signals that had been observed in the vicinity of the reactor since July was, for example, the draining of coolant. Comparable activities would have last been noticed at the plant before December 2018. Since the IAEA has no access to the facilities on North Korean territory, one has to resort to satellite observations again and again in order to assess the security situation in the dictatorial country.

Nuclear weapons in North Korea: Observations follow threats from Kim Jong-un

North Korea’s ruler Kim Jong-un, who last described the situation in North Korea as “tense”, announced in January of this year that the country wanted to “push ahead” with its weapons development, as well as “tactical nuclear weapons” and “strategic underwater launch nuclear weapons” Further develop “extra-large nuclear warheads”. The activities that the IAEA has observed in the vicinity of the reactor could indicate that words are now followed by action.

“The continuation of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s nuclear program is a clear violation of the resolutions of the UN Security Council,” the IAEA concludes. This development is seen as “extremely worrying”, the report says.

Worrying signals in North Korea’s largest nuclear reactor: the plant was shut down several times

The plant is located about one hundred kilometers north of North Korea’s capital Pyongyang. It was planned and established as a nuclear research center since 1962. The five megawatt reactor that has now caught on with renewed activity in the satellite images was built in the 1970s.

According to reports, up to eight kilograms of plutonium can be produced there annually. Since North Korea’s commitment to cease operations in 2007, the reactor has been shut down and restarted several times. IAEA inspectors were last on site in 2009 – since then one had to rely on the images of the satellites for observation. (ska)

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