Satellite images reveal high level of nuclear activity in North Korea
Sylvie Claire / April 3, 2023
A high level of activity was detected at North Korea's main nuclear complex using satellite imagery, after leader Kim Jong Un called for increased production of "military nuclear material. »
Satellite images taken between March 3 and 17 suggest that construction of a light water reactor at the Yongbyon site is "nearing completion," according to the US-based organization 38 North.
According to the same images, the construction of a building has begun, while discharges of water from the cooling system have been detected, suggesting that the reactor is getting ready "to be operational," the think tank report details.
A five-megawatt reactor at Yongbyon also continues to operate and new construction has begun around the site's uranium enrichment plant, presumably to increase its capacity.
"These developments appear to reflect Kim Jong Un's recent directive to increase fissile material production to bolster his nuclear arsenal," analyzed 38 North.
State media on Tuesday showed North Korea's No. 1, who has called for increased production of "military nuclear material" to "exponentially" increase nuclear weapons production, inspecting a row of smaller warheads that appear to be tactical nuclear warheads.
Experts say the tactical nuclear weapons are a sign that North Korea is making technical progress, and suggest that the country is preparing to conduct a seventh nuclear test.
For their part, Seoul and Washington have been warning of another North Korean nuclear test since early 2022.