A “deeply troubling” development is happening in North Korea. Evidence emerged showing that North Korea restarted a nuclear reactor, said to be capable of generating weapons-grade plutonium. This information was quoted in a report released by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The International Atomic Energy Agency has seen signs consistent with the development of nuclear reactor
On Friday, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released a report stating that they have seen signs consistent with the development of the nuclear reactor. The suspicious reactor in question was seen in the city of Yongbyon in North Korea.
North Korea appears to have restarted a plutonium-producing nuclear reactor, inspectors say, a move that could allow it to expand its weapons stockpile https://t.co/ihQQxwlR00
— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) August 29, 2021
According to IAEA, one key piece of evidence they sensed was the release of cooling water from the facility. Meanwhile, a professor of international studies, Leif Eric Easley from the Ewha Women’s University in Seoul, stated that it seems as if North Korea does not intend to be discreet.
He added that they might be getting ready to use the facility in Yongbyon as a form of a bargaining chip when negotiating. Easley, however, added that even though North Korea is looking into bringing back negotiations, it could be led by a missile test, instead of diplomatic engagement.
According to the report, the last nuclear test that was conducted by North Korea was back in 2017. However, the United Nations agency does not have access to the location after they were expelled in 2009. Now, the UN uses satellite images and other means to track the facilities in North Korea.
The report likewise noted that from mid-February up to July this year, the operation of the radiochemical laboratory was likewise traced.
The IAEA added that the nuclear activities in North Korea remain to be a cause of serious concern. Moreover, the operation of the nuclear reactor, as well as other radiochemical reactors, were also indicated and they are deeply troubling.
Biden senior official: the recent reports are “disturbing”
A senior official of the Biden administration said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that the United States also finds the report “disturbing.” The unnamed Biden official was quoted stating that the movements in North Korea emphasize the pressing need for diplomacy and dialogue, in order to accomplish denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
The U.N. atomic agency says North Korea appears to have restarted the operation of its main nuclear reactor used to produce weapons fuels. It comes as Pyongyang threatens to enlarge its nuclear arsenal amid long-dormant diplomacy with the U.S. https://t.co/YS4x0Ideu2
— The Associated Press (@AP) August 30, 2021
At a uranium mine and plant located in Pyongan, mining and concentration movements were similarly tracked, as well as an activity at a speculated secret enrichment facility located in Kangson.
A researcher from the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, Joshua Pollack, stated that it is safe to say that North Korea plans to use newly separated plutonium as a weapon.
Pollack also noted that Kim Jong-un, supreme leader of North Korea, also gave a lengthy list of advanced weaponry that is being developed; the list includes nuclear bombs. He added that it seems like the appetite of North Korea for nuclear warheads hasn’t been satisfied yet.