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Pyongyang re-fires nuclear reactor

SEOUL (AsiaNews): The government of North Korea has authorised the resumption of the Yongbyon nuclear reactor, which is said to be capable of producing about six kilogrammes of plutonium per year

White smoke has been spotted in recent satellite images spilling out from the smokestacks of a colour and texture that has been identified as one that is issued by the steam driving the turbines in the complex, according to the website, 38North, which is run by to the United States of America (US)-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University.

Pyongyang had announced its intention to reactivate the nuclear facility in April. It has a capacity of five megawatts and was shut down in 2007 as part of an agreement reached by the six-party talks on nuclear disarmament.

However, in December of 2008, Pyongyang quit the talks, which included the two Koreas, the US, China, Russia and Japan—and enacted a policy of aggression particularly against Seoul, to the point that Beijing, a historical ally of the north, was forced to intervene to appease the warlike proclamations of the Kim Il-jung regime.

However, following an escalation of military and diplomatic tension that brought the peninsula to the brink of war, the government in Pyongyang calmed the waters with a series of bilateral talks with Seoul.

These have produced both the reopening of the inter-Korean industrial complex of Kaesong and the resumption of meetings between families separated by the war of 1950. Excluding any last minute hitches, both events are planned for mid-September.


Choi Jin Wook, a researcher with the Korea Institute for National Unification in Seoul, commented to the Daily NK on September 12, “For the manufacture of nuclear weapons at Yongbyon, they will have to run it for at least six months. Also, it is worn out, so the problem of safety is still there. It shows that North Korea, quite unlike the conciliatory appearance they are showing to the outside, does not intend to abandon its nuclear capabilities.”

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