White steam rising, North Korea restarts Yongbyon nuclear reactor?

Last Updated: Thursday, September 12, 2013 - 16:30

Zee Media Bureau

Pyongyang: In what may reignite furore over North Korean nukes, a white steam was seen rising from a building near Pyongyang`s Yongbyon nuclear reactor, a US institute report said Thursday.

The BBC cited a report on 38 North website written by US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University according to which the 5 MW reactor of North Korea might have already started function or might do so in few days.

"The reactor looks like it either is or will within a matter of days be fully operational, and as soon as that happens, it will start producing plutonium," the BBC quoted report author Jeffrey Lewis.

According to the report on 38 North website, it is a gas-graphite plutonium production reactor and the colour and the volume of the steam rising from its steam turbines building suggests that the reactor may be "in or nearing operation".

The report comes five months after Pyongyang had threatened to restart its nuclear facility in April amid tensions.

The institute that uses satellite imagery to keep track of North Korean reactor, said in the report that an August 31 image showed that reactor`s electricity system was about to come online.
The reactor which can produce 6 kilograms of plutonium a year, was closed by North Korea in July 2007 in compliance with a disarmament-for-aid deal.

First Published: Thursday, September 12, 2013 - 10:06

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