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N. Korea's nuclear reactor appears to be still operating: 38 North

All News 16:29 October 09, 2021

SEOUL, Oct. 9 (Yonhap) -- North Korea appears to be still operating its uranium enrichment plant at the Yongbyon nuclear complex, a U.S. website monitoring the reclusive state said Saturday.

"Imagery shows water being discharged from Aug. 25 to at least Sept. 9; no water was observed on Oct. 1, but it was detected again the next day," 38 North said in its latest article.

The website also stressed although there were no other indicators, such as the emission of steam from the facilities, "intermittent discharge is not uncommon when the reactor is operating."

Earlier this week, 38 North also said satellite images suggested Pyongyang has been carrying out construction activities at the venue.

The suspicion comes in line with the International Atomic Energy Agency's report released in August, which suggested Pyongyang appears to have reactivated its 5-megawatt nuclear reactor at the complex, also judging by possible activities indicative of a discharge of cooling water.

The North previously reprocessed spent fuel rods from the reactor to harvest plutonium for nuclear bombs.

Earlier this month, the North reopened its direct communication lines with the South, raising hopes for the resumption of stalled inter-Korean dialogue amid a drawn-out deadlock in denuclearization talks.

Last year, North Korea blew up a liaison office in its border town of Kaesong and unilaterally cut off all inter-Korean communication lines in anger over anti-Pyongyang leaflets sent from South Korea.

This image shows North Korea's main nuclear complex in Yongbyon, north of Pyongyang. (Yonhap)

colin@yna.co.kr
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