Skip to comments.North Korea resumes work on nuclear reactor: report
Posted on 05/16/2012 11:14:17 PM PDT by Olog-hai
North Korea has resumed construction work on an experimental light water reactor (ELWR) in a move that could extend its capacity to produce more material for nuclear weapons, website 38North reported on Thursday.
Based on April 30 satellite images, work halted in December at the reactor had now re-started, said the website (38north.org), run by the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University and former U.S. State Department official Joel Wit.
The construction activity comes as Pyongyang has stepped up progress towards conducting a third nuclear test, perhaps using highly enriched uranium for the first time, despite warnings from the United States and China.
"Pyongyang's construction of an ELWRwhich the North Koreans have indicated is the prototype for additional reactorsas well as a uranium enrichment facility at Yongbyon, is an important indication of the North's intention to move forward with the expansion of its nuclear weapons stockpile in the future," 38North said.
It said the reactor could be operational in 1-2 years and that North Korea had almost completed the reactor containment building, based on the satellite images.
North Korea says it needs nuclear power to provide electricity, but has also boasted of its nuclear deterrence capacity and has traded nuclear technology with Syria, Libya and likely Myanmar and Pakistan.
It became the first country to withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 2003 and has denied international inspectors access to its nuclear facilities, reneging on a February 29 deal to do so after it announced plans to launch a long range rocket, in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions.
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