Think tank analysts they estimated from commercial satellite images that steam was leaking from the building, a sign that at least one reactor was operating. In addition, water is still drained through the pipes.
5 megawatt reactorwhich it can produce up to six kilograms of plutonium a year, stopped working in 2018 and looked to be turned off a few months ago – 38 North noted.
“This new activity is noteworthy as a resumption of plutonium production is probably needed to achieve ambitious goals further development of nuclear weapons, announced earlier this year at the 8th congress of the ruling party in North Korea, the think tank said.
These assumptions are in line with the observations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which has detected signs of continued operation of the Jongbjon reactor since it was restarted. The agency also drew attention to the activity in the uranium enrichment facility in another part of North Korea – reminds the South Korean news agency Yonhap.
In January, the leader of North Korea Kim Jong Un announced further nuclear armaments and the development of the combat capabilities of the North Korean army. “We must further strengthen nuclear deterrence, while continuing our efforts to build the most powerful military force,” he said at the end of the Eighth Party Congress.
Negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington on the denuclearization of North Korea have come to a standstill since the failed second summit between Kim and then US President Donald Trump in Vietnam in February 2019. The North Korean side demanded the lifting of almost all international sanctions there, offering only partial denuclearization in return, to which the Americans did not agree.