N.Korea Still Producing Nuke Materials at Yongbyon

  • By Cho Yi-jun

    November 26, 2018 12:54

    North Korea may still be trying to produce more nuclear materials, U.S. nuclear experts believe.

    After the International Atomic Energy Agency last Thursday said that there has been activity at North Korea's nuclear facility in Yongbyon and called on the regime to allow inspectors back in to monitor its nuclear program, other experts in the U.S. have raised concerns.

    Cheryl Rofer, a nuclear dismantlement expert formerly with Los Alamos National Laboratory told Voice of America on Friday that activities near the Kuryong River in Yongbyon "could mean that they're planning to run the reactor a little more vigorously and perhaps produce more plutonium. The activities near the river may be related to changes in the cooling infrastructure which could be a natural repair or slight upgrade."

    She stressed the need to inspect the nuclear facility there to find out what is happening.

    David Albright, the president of the Institute for Science and International Security, said the IAEA "gave some interesting detail... one of which was North Korea seems to be redesigning the cooling system for the light water reactor, and particularly the 5 MW electric reactor."

    "It raises the question of what that's for, [and] the obvious answer is that North Korea would be trying to create more cooling water or to be able to better discharge hot water produced as a result of reactor operation in order to increase the power of the reactor."

    He added, "One way you can increase the power is through increasing the ability to cool the reactor, and if you are going to try to do that, you may be doing things in the river building dams, creating reservoirs so that you can pump more water into the reactor and then cool it better, and therefore you can increase the power of the reactor, produce more plutonium."

    The U.S. State Department told VOA that day, "We share the IAEA's views that [North Korea's] nuclear activities are a cause for grave concern."

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