April 08, 2011 11:48
A satellite photograph of North Korea's Yongbyon nuclear complex taken on March 24 shows a dome-shaped structure and construction taking place right next door that were not visible in a surveillance photo taken in November last year. The dome-shaped structure measuring around 30 m in diameter is apparently around 40 m tall.
Experts to believe that the North is trying to construct a new light-water reactor in Yongbyon based on its experience of building one in the eastern coastal city of Shinpo.
They say the project could pose serious safety problems, since the North's capabilities are far below international standards. The plant would pose another threat in addition to Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program, and an accident could result in radioactive contamination of the entire Korean Peninsula.
"We have to wait and see if North Korea is really building a light-water reactor," a South Korean government official said. Seoul believes North Korea may be using the structure simply as a tool to pressure the U.S. and South Korea to listen to its demands.
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