There are no indications that North Korea has conducted reprocessing activities at its Yongbyon nuclear research facility – where a 5 MWe plutonium-producing reactor is located – since late 2018, the Yonhap News Agency quoted South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS) as telling the country’s National Assembly intelligence committee on 5 March.
This assessment is in line with a statement made a day earlier by Yukiya Amano, the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), who said that his agency had “not observed any indications of the operation of the 5MWe reactor since early December 2018”.
At the time Amano also stated that while the IAEA had not seen any indications of reprocessing activities at the radiochemical laboratory at Yongbyon, it saw indications of ongoing construction work at the light water reactor, and has “continued to observe indications of the ongoing use of the reported centrifuge enrichment facility” at the site.
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