Ian Patrick, FISM News
It seems that North Korea is attempting to continue its nuclear work under the table. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released a report dated August 27 in which it details its “deeply troubling” findings after a year of monitoring the nation.
The IAEA has not been able to personally monitor or implement safeguards in North Korea’s nuclear activity ever since inspectors were kicked out of the country back in 2009. The agency admits that their knowledge on the nation’s nuclear capabilities “is limited and, as further nuclear activities take place in the country, this knowledge is declining.” The IAEA has been able to keep a wary eye on North Korea through “open source information and satellite imagery,” while continually preparing inspectors for a possible return to the nation for verification of the nuclear program.
The report finds that a certain reactor in Yongbyon has shown signs of some activity such as “the discharge of cooling water” since July of this year. A steam plant on the site also ran for five months straight, indicating that the country ran a reprocessing effort on irradiated fuel from the reactor. Otherwise, the report mentions deliveries and construction work within the Light Water Reactor on the site.
In addition to the activity, the IAEA report quotes a report from Kim Jong Un in January of this year, in which the North Korean leader outlines the goals his party has completed in the “modernization of the nuclear force.” This includes completing development on a “super-large hydrogen bomb,” modernizing already existing nuclear tech to make it more tactical and practical, nearing completion on a nuclear submarine, and getting into nuclear power.
The IAEA report concluded by saying the activity witnessed by the surveillance team is “deeply troubling.”
The DPRK’s nuclear activities continue to be a cause for serious concern. Furthermore, the new
indications of the operation of the 5MW(e) reactor and the Radiochemical Laboratory are deeply troubling. The continuation of the DPRK’s nuclear programme is a clear violation of relevant UN Security Council resolutions and is deeply regrettable.
The report calls for North Korea to allow its inspectors into the country again to monitor their nuclear capabilities and establish the necessary safeguards.