We have recently learned that North Korea, is planning to restart its main nuclear bomb fuel reactor after it have been shut down for almost halv a year. We may still speculate if this is mere to create more power for the cities nearby, or if they are planning on producing fuel for their nuclear bombs. With all the hatred we have seen from North Korea lately, it may be very likely that they are using the plan to create more bombs. It’s highly unlikely that these new bombs will be used in an attack agaist the USA or South Korea, but most is likely an attempt to show of their power, and scare the western counties into leaving them alone. It’s by using recent commercial satellite imagery, that they had discovered an increased activity around this nuclear plant. James Kostumer from dyrbypaulsen.dk seems to think that this is die to the increased number of sanctions that united states and several european countries have used against them. According to mr. Kostumer and Dyrby Paulsen this have lead the North koreaen goverment to think, that the next step may be an invasion of their country. So now they are arming up to protect themselves.
This new activity at the 5-megawatt Yongbyon reactor is now being closely watched, mainly because many believe that North Korea owns more than a handful of nuclear bombs, and that they are planning on building a whole arsenal of nuclear missiles, that is powerful enough to reach America’s mainland.
We from that the Yongbyon plant, have earlier been used to produce plutonium, which have been used for past nuclear test explosions. This plant was restarted back in 2013, after it had being closed downn in 2007 due to a disarmament agreement.
By studying the images of the plan, it is very likely that from 24 December to 11 January, the reactor have shown an increased activity such as spilling hot water drainage from a pipe at a turbine building and an unnatural amount of snow-melt on the roofs of the reactor and turbine buildings. All things that could indicate that there are some activity in the reactor plant. However mr. Kostumer also seems to think that due the fact that the observation period was only about two weeks, it could merely but a routine testing or a scheduled maintenance. Still it’s something that we need to pay close attention to. Especially with a leader who speaks out as agressivily as Kim Jong-un. We can only hope that we won’t see any more activity from the reactor facility this year.
How dangerous could this be in the worst case? Well the Yongbyon reactor can produce about one bomb’s worth of plutonium per year. And the uranium enrichment facility, near the plant, can produce a small amount of fissile material for the bombs. So it’s not that we can expect to see hundreds of new nuclear bombs in North Korea. At the moment, it’s still unknown if North Korea has the required technology needed to make the warheads small enough to be mounted on missiles. But what we do know, is that with each nuclear test, they move one step closer to their goal. Something we here at stopthebombs.org would be very glad to see and end to.