CBRN Assessment

North Korea's plutonium-producing reactor likely reactivated, says report

30 January 2017

Analysis of commercial satellite imagery from 22 January indicates that operations at the 5 MWe plutonium-producing reactor at North Korea's Yongbyon nuclear research facility is likely to have resumed.

The images show a water plume - most probably warm - originating from the cooling water outlet of the reactor: an indication that the reactor "is very likely operating", the 38 North website of the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University's Paul H Nitze School of Advanced International Studies said in a report on 27 January.

"Without being able to measure the water temperature rise or water flow from the reactor, it is impossible to estimate at what power level the reactor is running, although it may be considerable," the report stated.

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