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Satellite images indicate that North Korea reactivated nuclear reactor

The study of the images also reveals that the reactor has been pouring water into the channel that discharges into the Kuryong River for weeks.

Recent images taken by satellite and analyzed by the specialized page 38 North show new evidence that North Korea has reactivated its experimental 5 megawatt nuclear reactor.

The photos, taken on November 23, show steam emanating from the space reserved for generators in this reactor at the Yongbyon Nuclear Research Center (about 100 kilometers north of Pyongyang), which is believed to have the capacity to produce about six per year. kilos of plutonium that can be used in bombs.

This “indicates that at least one of the generators is working,” explains the analysis of the aforementioned website, signed by Olli Heionen, Peter Makowsky, Jack Liu and Jenny Town.

In turn, the study of the images also reveals that the reactor has been pouring water into the channel that discharges into the Kuryong River for weeks.

These new samples of activity are “remarkable”, according to 38 North, which recalls that the objectives set in terms of atomic weapons by the leader Kim Jong-un during the congress of the single party at the beginning of the year make necessary the production of plutonium that apparently is taking place in Yongbyon.

After lying dormant since 2018, an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report released in the summer revealed that the regime had reactivated the reactor this year.

In turn, the new photos show that construction continues on a new building located south of the Yongbyon light water experimental reactor, “although there are no signs” that this fission unit, which began construction in 2009 to generate electricity and so far it has never been activated, it is currently operating.

The activity in Yongbyon is thus a new point after the 5 megawatt graphite reactor showed no movement during Pyongyang’s rapprochement process with Seoul and Washington between 2018 and 2019.

It also underlines Pyongyang’s intention to continue developing its nuclear program in the absence of common positions that will even allow the dialogue on denuclearization, stalled since 2019, to be resumed.

The US has invited North Korea to resume the dialogue since the arrival of Joe Biden to the White House, but the regime, engaged in turn in preventing the spread of COVID-19 in its territory, has rejected the proposal insisting that Washington keeps intact its “hostility” towards Pyongyang. (I)

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