An analysis of commercial satellite images of North Korea’s Yongbyon nuclear facility taken on the 22nd found signs of continued operation of the facility’s campus, but no evidence that North Korea had moved spent fuel rods, according to a 28-day article on 38 North, a U.S. website dedicated to North Korea. The satellite image also observed new movements in the experimental light water reactor. Yonhap News Agency said today that this may be related to maintenance and repair.
Yonhap News Agency today cited sources reporting that North Korea’s Yongbyon nuclear facility is still in operation. According to a 28-day article on 38 North, a U.S. website dedicated to North Korea, the radiochemical laboratory at the Yongbyon nuclear facility and the coal-fired thermal power plant that feeds steam to the laboratory are still operating. The plant has been in operation since early March, but recent satellite photos show fewer smoky chimneys. The article notes, however, that there is no evidence that spent fuel rods were transferred from a storage facility on the side of the facility’s 5-megawatt (5 MW) experimental graphite nuclear reactor.
In addition, new movements of the experimental light water reactor were observed from satellite images, which may be related to maintenance and repairs. It is observed that a new annex to the large experimental building is being built at the site of the Research and Administration Headquarters in the facility.