2003 December 11 Thursday
North Korean Activity At Yongbyon Reactor

A US intelligence satellite has picked up signs that the North Koreans may be doing work at the Yongbyon nuclear reactor.

Seoul's JoongAng Ilbo, citing US and South Korean sources, said that a US intelligence satellite had detected "signs of vapor and fumes" from a coal-fired boiler linked to a nuclear laboratory at the plant for four days this month.

It said a truck was also spotted in the area where the nuclear research center's five-megawatt nuclear reactor is located.

The North Korean regime's nuclear weapons program is difficult to analyse from outside. Any visible activity is difficult to interpret. It could be that the North Koreans are working busily on making nukes or it could be that the regime thinks this sort of activity helps it somehow in negotiations.

The details were reported in the South Korea news paper JoongAng Ilbo.

JoongAng Ilbo quoted Seoul officials as saying the fumes were detected on December 2, 3, 4 and 7, and that a truck was spotted traveling in and out of the premises of Yongbyon's five-megawatt nuclear reactor on December 3.

It is winter and presumably quite cold at Yongbyon. So heat from a coal-fired reactor would be easier to detect, coal burning would create fumes, and water vapor would likely be visible.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2003 December 11 04:04 PM  Korea


Comments
Reptoid said at December 11, 2003 8:48 PM:

Will North Korea outlive the "Dear Leader" Kim Jong Il? Maybe it's just stupid speculation, but I somehow suspect that if little Kim were on his deathbed he'd order nukes lobbed at S. Korea, Japan, and wherever else their pointing just out of spite (unless he has an heir to throne.) There's evidence that Stalin was planning to start WWIII in a similiar fashion. I was also reading that North Korea has enough artillery within range of Seoul to level that city literally within minutes. A first strike by the North would be devastating indeed, even if it didn't involve nukes.


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