February 15, 2022 10:07
North Korea has reactivated a uranium-enrichment plant and a 5-megawatt plutonium-producing reactor at the Yongbyon nuclear complex, according to Voice of America on Monday.
The North has gone through a flurry of missile tests this year and now seems to be producing nuclear materials for their warheads.
Olli Heinonen, formerly of the International Atomic Energy Agency, came to the conclusion based on satellite images from Feb. 1.
It shows that snow has melted on a section of the sprawling complex that "contains the control room and stations for feeding and withdrawing uranium hexafluoride from the enrichment halls," according to Heinonen.
"These sections should only be heated when the facility operates," Heinonen said. "With those observations it is likely that the UEP is operating.'
"There are also snow melts in support buildings, which include activities such as assembling and balancing of centrifuges, decontamination of equipment, keep centrifuge halls in constant temperature, maintain clean air environment and distribute electricity," he added.
Heinonen speculated that the 5-megawatt plutonium-producing reactor is also operating. "Snow melts first from the roofs of the turbine hall, heat exchangers, and ventilation stack," he said. "Same happens with the buildings, which are supporting operations of the reactor."
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