The report gave evidence Pyongyang is constructing an experimental LWR at North Korea’s Yongbyon nuclear complex. The fact North Korea appears to be continuing uranium enrichment will cause tensions to rise in the region. South Korea announced in mid-September it had evidence the North was preparing to test a new underwater-launched ballistic missile that could be mounted with a nuclear warhead.
The major problem with uranium enrichment is that it can be done in a much more secretive way than with plutonium and the country has naturally occurring reserves of uranium ore.
The report drew much of its findings from open source information and satellite imagery analysis.
The agency said without North Korean authorities allowing inspectors access they would not be able to absolutely confirm re-enrichment.
The International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, report stated that without inspectors on the ground, “we cannot confirm either the operational status or configuration design features of the facilities or locations described”.
There is also a possibility North Korea is re-processing its fuel rods from the nuclear reactor to make weapons-grade plutonium.
If the report’s findings are correct then it will affect denuclearisation talks between North Korea and the international community.
However, North Korea is already suggesting they will not partake in further denuclearisation talks.
On July 10 Kim Jong-un’s sister, Kim Yo-jong, has said “summit talks are not needed this year and beyond”.
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This hubristic rhetoric was echoed by Choe Son Hui, North Korea’s vice minister of foreign affairs, said on July 4 the US “is mistaken if it thinks things like negotiations would still work on us”.
“We do not feel any need to sit face to face with the US, as it does not consider the dialogue as nothing more than a tool for grappling with its political crisis.”
North Korea suggests its nuclear program is for civilian uses.
Using nuclear power for energy creation is on the rise in many countries, with China alone building or planning more than 50 new reactors.