North Korea Reactivates Operations at Plutonium Power Plant

North Korea Reactivates Operations at Plutonium Power Plant

( – On August 27, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released a startling six-page report on the application of safeguards in North Korea. Its release coincided with the UN’s annual Board of Governors General Conference. The IAEA, the United Nations-convened atomic watchdog, expressed concern regarding the apparent reactivation of North Korea’s 5-megawatt Yongbyon nuclear reactor.

The IAEA report states there had been no reported evidence of reactor operations at the Yongbyon plant since December 2018. However, using open source data and satellite imagery, the agency discovered signs North Korea reactivated the experimental nuclear power plant in early July 2021.

Additionally, the IAEA report stated the agency discovered “indications of ongoing” mining and milling operations at a Pyongsan’s uranium mine and at a plant for concentrating the radioactive element.

The report also stated North Korea’s nuclear activities continue to raise serious concerns. Additionally, the apparent reactivation of the Yongbyon nuclear plant and a nearby radiochemical lab is “deeply troubling.”

United Nations spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric told reporters António Guterres, the UN’s Secretary-General, was aware of the report’s finding and was “concerned” by the latest developments in North Korea. He called on the Hermit Kingdom to refrain from engaging in any nuclear weapon-related activities.

North Korea’s renewed use of the Yongbyon nuclear plant is a clear violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions, triggering security concerns for the United States and others.

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