IAEA Confirms North Korea Has Restarted Nuclear Reactor
kpopluv, Sept. 11, 2014, 8:47 a.m.
The International Atomic Energy Agency said North Korea has definitely resumed operations at its Yongbyon nuclear facility. In an annual report, the IAEA said, "Since late August 2013, the agency has observed, through analysis of satellite imagery, steam discharges and the outflow of cooling water at the 5 MW(e) reactor, signatures which are consistent with the reactor's operation."
"The agency has continued to observe building renovation and new construction activities at various locations within the Yongbyon site." This roughly coincides with the North's own announcements.
North Korea's nuclear program "remains a matter of serious concern," the report adds, but since North Korea expelled IAEA inspectors in 2009 the facts are somewhat hazy. The North blew up the reactor's cooling tower and suspended operation in 2008 under an agreement reached in six-party talks, but the deal later crumbled.
In April last year, the North pledged to reactivate the 5 MW reactor, citing "hostility" from the U.S. and South Korea. Seoul urged Pyongyang to immediately stop nuclear development. "North Korea should fulfill its international obligations, including its promise to abandon nuclear weapons" in accordance with a Sept. 19, 2005 statement of principles from the six-party talks and UN Security Council resolutions.
"The IAEA report is a spur to stronger diplomatic measures in cooperation with the international community," a senior Foreign Ministry official here said