Signs of activities detected at NK’s nuclear site: IAEA

Signs of activity have recently been found at some North Korean nuclear installations, the chief of the UN Nuclear Watch said Monday, expressing “serious concern” about the continued activities of the withdrawn regime.

Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, told the Board of Governors there was evidence that the regime had continued construction of an experimental light water reactor at its main core complex in Yongbyon, including testing the infrastructure for cooling water in late 2020.

He added that while there is no evidence of enriched uranium production at the reported centrifuge enrichment facility in Yongbyon, there is still evidence of activity at another facility in Kangson, just outside Pyongyang.

The Kangson site has long been suspected of being the regime’s secret uranium enrichment facility or fuel for atomic bombs. 38 North, a US-based North Korean monitoring website, reported in December that Kangson may not be a uranium enrichment facility, but instead is dedicated to manufacturing related components used to enrich uranium.

In the Yongbyon complex, according to Grossi, there were no signs of operation of the 5-megawatt nuclear reactor – the country’s main source of weapons-grade plutonium – and of the production of enriched uranium in the centrifuge enrichment facility reported there. However, there were indications of the operation of the brook, which serves the radiochemical laboratory.

Grossi stressed that nuclear activity in the north remained “a matter of serious concern”.

“The continuation of the DPRK’s nuclear program is a clear violation of the relevant UN Security Council resolution and deeply regrettable,” he said, using the acronym for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the official name of the North.

“I urge the DPRK to fully comply with its obligations under the Security Council resolutions, to work immediately with the Agency in the full and effective implementation of its NPT Protection Agreement and to resolve any outstanding issues,” he said, referring to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons Contract.

Pyongyang expelled IAEA inspectors in 2009, and since then the agency has been monitoring the country’s nuclear program through open source intelligence and satellite imagery. North Korea’s last and largest nuclear test took place in 2017 when it was claimed to have successfully tested a hydrogen bomb.

Meanwhile, the newly minted U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations said on Monday that North Korea continues to pose a serious threat to peace and security to the world and that the U.S. will continue to push the regime for denuclearization.

“We believe that North Korea poses a serious threat to our peace and security, as well as to the globe. We therefore have a vital interest in deterring North Korea from this goal and in defending ourselves against its provocations or use of violence, ”said Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield during her first press conference. “President Biden has made it clear that we will pursue diplomacy of principle with our allies and partners, and we will continue to push for a denuclearized North Korea.”

By Ahn Sung-mi ([email protected])

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