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IAEA’S TAKE ON YONGBYON NUCLEAR REACTOR

IAEA’S TAKE ON YONGBYON NUCLEAR REACTOR

Context:

The United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) described the resumption of operations over at North Korea’s Yongbyon nuclear reactor as “deeply troubling.”

  • IAEA stated that while monitors have not been granted access to the Yongbyon site, there are “indications” that the five-megawatt reactor is once more producing plutonium for the first time since December 2018.

Recent Update:

  • According to IAEA, North Korea appears to have resumed operation of its plutonium-producing reactor at Yongbyon in a move that could enable the country to expand its nuclear weapons arsenal.
  • The report noted that the Yongbyon reactor appeared to have been inactive from December 2018 until the beginning of July 2021.

Yongbyon Nuclear Reactor:

  • It is located in Nyongbyon County in North Pyongan Province, about 100 km north of Pyongyang, North Korea.
  • The Nyongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center is North Korea's major nuclear facility, operating its nuclear reactors like Yongbyon nuclear reactor.

Nyongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center:

  • It is North Korea's major nuclear facility.
  • The centre produced the fissile material for North Korea's six nuclear weapon tests from 2006 to 2017, and since 2009 is developing indigenous light water reactor nuclear power station technology.

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