Satellite Images Confirm Activity at North Korean Nuclear Complex, Report Says
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
A North Korean worker stands near radioactive waste at the country's Yongbyon nuclear complex in 2008. Activity recently increased near the site's plutonium reprocessing plant, satellite photos indicate (Siegfried Hecker/Stanford University).
Satellite images suggest that North Korea intends to follow through on its vow to resume plutonium reprocessing at the Yongbyon nuclear complex, Agence France-Presse reported today (see GSN, May 7).
The U.S. pictures show trucks moving near the reprocessing plant, a source told the Yonhap News Agency. "However, our krypton detector has not shown any signs that North Korea has restarted reprocessing," the source added (Agence France-Presse/Spacewar.com, May 13).
The reprocessing plant has been used to produce weapon-usable plutonium from spent fuel rods from North Korea's sole operating nuclear reactor. Plutonium reprocessing releases krypton, an inert gas that could be identified by South Korean technology deployed near the border with the North, the Associated Press reported (Associated Press/Yahoo!News, May 13).
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