North Korea appears to have restarted nuclear reactor, IAEA says | Inquirer News
Close  

North Korea appears to have restarted nuclear reactor, IAEA says

/ 06:17 AM August 30, 2021
A North Korean flag flies on a mast at the Permanent Mission of North Korea in Geneva October 2, 2014. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/File Picture

A North Korean flag flies on a mast at the Permanent Mission of North Korea in Geneva October 2, 2014. (REUTERS)

VIENNA  – North Korea appears to have restarted a nuclear reactor that is widely believed to have produced plutonium for nuclear weapons, the U.N. atomic watchdog has said in an annual report.

The International Atomic Energy Agency has had no access to North Korea since Pyongyang expelled its inspectors in 2009. The country then pressed ahead with its nuclear weapons programme and soon resumed nuclear testing. Its last nuclear test was in 2017.

ADVERTISEMENT

The IAEA now monitors North Korea from afar, largely through satellite imagery.

“There were no indications of reactor operation from early December 2018 to the beginning of July 2021,” the IAEA report said of the 5-megawatt reactor at Yongbyon, a nuclear complex at the heart of North Korea’s nuclear programme.

FEATURED STORIES

“However, since early July 2021, there have been indications, including the discharge of cooling water, consistent with the operation of the reactor.”

The IAEA issues the report annually before a meeting of its member states, posting it online with no announcement. The report was dated Friday.

The IAEA said in June there were indications at Yongbyon of possible reprocessing work to separate plutonium from spent reactor fuel that could be used in nuclear weapons.

Friday’s report said the duration of that apparent work – five months, from mid-February to early July – suggested a full batch of spent fuel was handled, in contrast to the shorter time needed for waste treatment or maintenance.

“The new indications of the operation of the 5MW(e) reactor and the Radiochemical (reprocessing) Laboratory are deeply troubling,” it said.

There were indications “for a period of time” that what is suspected to be a uranium enrichment plant at Yongbyon was not in operation, it said. There were also indications of mining and concentration activities at a uranium mine and plant at Pyongsan, it added.

gsg

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.
Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: North korea, nuclear
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and
acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.



© Copyright 1997-2022 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.