Breaking Report: North Korea Restarts Nuclear Reactor And What We Know
It looks like the Taliban and ISIS are not the only ones emboldened by a Biden presidency. A watchdog group just sounded alarms that North Korea has seemingly restarted its nuclear reactor. Internation Automic Energy Agency (IAEA) called the new indications of activity 'deeply troubling. Noting specific indications that they say proves that the facility is online once again.
The watchdog said the reactor has been discharging cooling water since July, suggesting it is operational. The group has monitored the facility via satellite for several years now.
This was the first sign of operational activity at the reactor since December 2018, months after US President Donald Trump met Kim Jong-un in Singapore, according to the IAEA. Kim Jong-un put the Yongbyon nuclear complex at the heart of his negotiations with Donald Trump.
More plutonium could help North Korea make smaller nuclear weapons to fit on its ballistic missiles, said David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security.
Yongbyon, a nuclear complex with a 5-megawatt reactor, is at the heart of North Korea's nuclear program.
"The bottom line is North Korea wants to improve the number and quality of its nuclear weapons," he added.
According to the BBC, the 5-megawatt reactor at the site has been the main source of weapons-grade plutonium for Pyongyang - though many analysts have pointed out that the facilities there are aging.
While intelligence on North Korean nuclear weapons is limited, making it impossible to know their number, Albright estimated the country had the capacity to produce material for four to six bombs a year.
There were also indications of mining and concentration activities at a uranium mine and plant at Pyongsan, and activity at a suspected covert enrichment facility in Kangson, according to Al Jazeera.
It is a safe bet that North Korea intends any newly separated plutonium for weapons, said Joshua Pollack, a researcher at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies. He noted that, in a speech this year, Kim gave a long list of advanced weapons under development, including more nuclear bombs.