April 06, 2018 10:27
North Korea continues construction work at the Yongbyon nuclear facility weeks ahead of summits with South Korea and the U.S.
Analysis of commercial satellite images from March 30 shows that "a major excavation project has also begun near the cooling water outfall," the website 38 North at Johns Hopkins University reported Wednesday.
Images shot on Feb. 25 showed steam plumes, which indicated that the 5 MWe reactor was in operation. The latest imagery shows no such steam plumes, but an excavation project along the riverbank.
This suggests that the facility has been shut down for repairs.
And at an experimental light-water reactor, "work continues on an adjacent building that may be a laboratory or for engineering support," the website added.
The 5MWe reactor that has been in operation since 1987 seems so superannuated that it can produce only 3-4 kg of plutonium per year.
However, once the ELWR is in operation, North Korea will likely be able to produce 20 kg of plutonium a year.
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