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.
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|