Luxury items 

North Korea has carried out tests on Yongbyon nuclear power plant, report says

August 6 (UPI) – North Korea’s Yongbyon nuclear power plant was operational on several occasions between late 2020 and February, according to a Japanese press article published on Friday.

A draft report by a panel of U.N. Sanctions Committee experts on North Korea indicated that there is evidence that Yongbyon is active, citing infrared images of the nuclear site, the Nikkei reported.

The UN draft report stated that “the exterior construction of a light water reactor appears to be completed” and that “the installation of the machinery is likely to be in progress”.

But experts also said the 5-megawatt Yongbyon reactor showed no signs of activity. The reactor ceased to operate in 2018.

The report described the activity as “testing”, but did not specify what type of testing had been performed. North Korea conducted six nuclear tests in 2006, 2009, 2013, twice in 2016 and once in 2017.

The report will be submitted for UN review before being released in September. It could be used as evidence to impose sanctions on individuals and entities, according to the Nikkei.

North Korea’s ability to produce fissile material for nuclear weapons has raised concerns with international agencies.

Olli Heinonen, former deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, recently said on 38 North that North Korea has likely produced around 1,190 pounds of highly enriched uranium at Yongbyon by the end of 2020.

North Korea also invested heavily in the facility after expelling IAEA inspectors in 2009. North Korea built two halls over the next decade, with one hall that could hold 2,000 centrifuges for uranium enrichment, according to Heinonen.

The UN panel of experts also said that ship-to-ship oil smuggling continues to occur on the high seas and luxury items, including cars worth a million dollars, were smuggled into the North, with Chinese companies acting as intermediaries.

Last year, Kim Jong Un visited a flash flood zone in a Lexus LX 570.


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