Advertisement

Updated December 22nd, 2023 at 18:50 IST

IAEA says North Korea's second nuclear reactor is 'operational', Grossi calls it 'concerning'

Amid the brewing tension in the Korean peninsula, experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said that a second reactor at North Korea's main nu

Reported by: Bhagyasree Sengupta
North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un
North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un | Image:AP
Advertisement

Amid the brewing tension in the Korean peninsula, experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said that a second reactor at North Korea's main nuclear power facility was detected operational for the first time. According to The Independent, the experts said that the reactor which appears to be functional is located at the Yongbyon nuclear facility, located around 100km north of Pyongyang, where a 5-megawatt reactor is already functioning. The operation of the second reactor means that North Korea now has greater capability of producing plutonium that can be used to make nuclear weapons. 

The chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi said that the agency found that the reactor is operational after they observed a recent discharge of warm water from the cooling system of the reactor at the site. “The discharge of warm water is indicative that the reactor has reached criticality,” Grossi said after his team released the findings, The Independent reported. The agency revealed that the UN first observed the "strong outflow of water” from the cooling system back in October. 

Advertisement

‘A cause of concern’

Grossi insisted that the release of water from the reactor is a ‘matter of concern’. “The new light-water reactor like any nuclear reactor, can produce plutonium in its irradiated fuel, which can be separated during reprocessing, so this is a cause for concern,” he said. Grossi went on to denounce North Korea's push to expand its nuclear programme and called the whole ordeal “deeply regrettable”. Emphasising that the country is violating the UNSC resolution, the UN official urged the DPRK to comply with the obligations of the Security Council. “I call upon the DPRK to comply fully with its obligations under Security Council resolutions, to cooperate promptly with the Agency in the full and effective implementation of its NPT Safeguards Agreement and to resolve all outstanding issues, especially those that have arisen during the absence of Agency inspectors from the country,” he said. It is important to note that the IAEA does not have access to North Korea ever since Pyongyang expelled the agency's inspectors in 2009. Hence, the body relies on satellite imagery to carry out its assessments. Since the body only has one way of investigating the matter, Grossi noted that the IAEA cannot fully confirm the reactor's operational status.   

Advertisement

Published December 22nd, 2023 at 18:49 IST

Your Voice. Now Direct.

Send us your views, we’ll publish them. This section is moderated.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Whatsapp logo