‘North restarts work on nuclear reactor’
TOKYO: A US satellite has detected signs that North Korea recently restarted a reactor that could be used for the extraction of material to make nuclear warheads, a Japanese newspaper said on Sunday.
The surveillance satellite detected steam coming out of a boiler connected to a building housing the five-megawatt reactor at Yongbyon, Asahi Shimbun said, quoting unnamed sources related to six-way nuclear crisis talks, including a senior US official.
The sources said the steam had been detected before the resumption of the six-way talks in late July that aimed to entice the North to give up its nuclear weapons and bomb-making programmes in exchange for economic aid and security guarantees.
“It is hard to think that the boiler would operate by itself while the nuclear reactor is stopped. It can only be concluded that North Korea has put in new nuclear fuel rods and has restarted the nuclear reactor,” Asahi quoted a US government source as saying.
Meanwhile, South Korea on Sunday denied a Japanese media report that North Korea had reactivated its nuclear reactor a month ago, the official Yonhap news agency said.
“It looks like an inaccurate news report even though I cannot verify it because it belongs to intelligence,” an unnamed Seoul government official told Yonhap in response to the Asahi report.
“I understand such an issue was never raised at the fourth round of (six-way) talks,” the Seoul official told Yonhap. agencies