North Korea appears to have restarted nuclear facilities: IAEA

Seoul, Aug 30 (EFE).- North Korea appears to have restarted its nuclear reactor and fuel reprocessing facilities, according to a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which described the activities as “deeply troubling.”

According to the document released Monday, since the beginning of July “there have been indications, including the discharge of cooling water, consistent with the operation of the reactor” at the Yongbyon Nuclear Research Center, about 100 kilometers north of Pyongyang.

From the Yongbyon facilities, to which the United Nations nuclear body does not have access, North Korea has obtained fuel for the nuclear weapons it has tested to date.

The IAEA said that between December 2018, when Pyongyang was preparing to open diplomatic negotiations with Washington, and the beginning of July this year, there were no indications of reactor operation.

The report, based on the analysis of satellite images and other information, adds that the steam plant at the Yongbyon radiochemical laboratory – used for reprocessing spent fuel to extract plutonium – was operational from mid-February until the beginning of July.

“The five-month timeframe is consistent with the time required to reprocess a complete core of irradiated fuel from the 5MW(e) reactor” at the complex, according to the agency, based on design information provided in 1992 by the North Korean regime.

“The DPRK’s nuclear activities continue to be a cause for serious concern. Furthermore, the new indications of the operation of the 5MW(e) reactor and the Radiochemical Laboratory are deeply troubling,” the IAEA said.

“The continuation of the DPRK’s nuclear program is a clear violation of relevant UN Security Council resolutions and is deeply regrettable.”

This new report, presented to the IAEA board of directors on Friday, comes after the regime suspended communications with Seoul again this month due to joint military exercises between South Korea and the United States.

Last week Washington once again insisted that it is willing to meet with Pyongyang anywhere at any time to resume denuclearization talks, but that offer has not been met with a response from North Korea.

Talks on disarmament have been stalled since the failed Hanoi summit in February 2019. EFE


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