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‘Indications’ N Korea has reactivated nuclear plant: IAEA

“The indications that we have obtained activities related to the five-megawatt reactor, expansion of enrichment facilities and activities related to (plutonium) reprocessing,” International Atomic Energy Agency head Yukiya Amano said.

“However, as we do not have inspectors on the ground we are only observing through satellite imagery. We cannot say for sure. But we have indications of certain activities through the satellite imagery,” Amano said.

He said that the indications spotted at the main Yongbyon complex included the “movement of vehicles, steam, discharge of warm waters or transport of material”.

The type of plutonium suitable for a nuclear bomb typically needs to be extracted from spent nuclear reactor fuel.

North Korea mothballed the Yongbyon reactor in 2007 under an aid-for-disarmament accord, but began renovating it after its third nuclear test in 2013. It carried test out a fourth on January 6.

The director of US National Intelligence, James Clapper, warned in February that the North could begin recovering plutonium from the reactor’s spent fuel “within a matter of weeks to months”.

Amano’s comments tally with those of the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University last week.    

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