NKorea Nuclear Reactor May be Operating Again: UN Watchdog

Friday, 05 Sep 2014 06:29 AM

 

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink

North Korea's reactor at its main nuclear site, capable of giving the isolated regime plutonium for nuclear weapons, may be operational again, the UN atomic watchdog said in a report seen by AFP Friday.

"Since late August 2013, the agency has observed, through analysis of satellite imagery, steam discharges and the outflow of cooling water" at the reactor at Yongbyon, the International Atomic Energy Agency said.

It added that such activity is "consistent with the reactor's operation. However, since the agency has had no access to the five megawatt reactor since April 2009, it cannot confirm the operational status".

The reactor is capable of giving North Korea, which has carried out three nuclear tests, six kilos (13 pounds) of plutonium a year -- enough for one nuclear bomb, experts say.

It shut the reactor down in 2007 under an aid-for-disarmament accord, but began renovating it after its last nuclear test in 2013, and previous satellite images suggested renewed activities there.

The IAEA's comments, in a new annual report on North Korea, chime with an assessment by the US think-tank the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) last month, also using satellite images.

ISIS said however that "without more data, such as regular steam production, it is hard to determine the operational status of the reactor and thus to estimate the amount of plutonium produced".

The UN watchdog also noted "further renovations" at another new facility at Yongbyon that North Korea is thought to be building for enriching uranium, but that it "cannot confirm the purpose of these activities".

The North says the purpose is to produce low-enriched uranium for a new reactor it is constructing, but experts suspect that the real goal is weapons-grade uranium, an alternative to plutonium for a nuclear bomb.

The IAEA said that as of June 2013, external work on the building housing that new reactor "appeared completed" but that since then "little further activity" was observed, with "no indications of the delivery or installation of major components".

It reiterated that North Korea's activities were a "matter of serious concern". IAEA inspectors have not had access to North Korea since being kicked out in 2009.

stu/yad

© AFP 2014

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
Please review Community Guidelines before posting a comment.
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Country
Zip Code:
Privacy: We never share your email.
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
Top Stories
You May Also Like

White House Confirms U.S. Citizen Released from North Korea

Tuesday, 21 Oct 2014 13:44 PM

The White House said on Tuesday that detained American tourist Jeffrey Fowle had been released from North Korea and was  . . .

Italian Police Break $2.2B Corporate Tax Fraud Ring

Tuesday, 21 Oct 2014 09:36 AM

Italy's financial police on Tuesday said they had broken up a ring of companies they believe used false accounting to de . . .

WHO to Probe Ebola Response, But Says Focus Is on Fight

Tuesday, 21 Oct 2014 09:03 AM

The World Health Organization insisted on Tuesday it would probe complaints that it had been slow to wake up to the scal . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved