North Korea returns to work on reactor

Construction work has resumed on a nuclear reactor in North Korea, international reports claim. According to the analysis of satellite images by the American 38North program taken last month, the […]

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By Tom Gibson

Construction work has resumed on a nuclear reactor in North Korea, international reports claim. According to the analysis of satellite images by the American 38North program taken last month, the building is “close to completion”.

A statement on the 38North website, from the Institute at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University said: “The next major step in the construction of this facility will be the loading of the heavy components, such as the pressure vessel, steam generator, and pressurizer, likely through the cylindrical opening in the roof of the reactor containment building.”

Pyonyang has already indicated the reactor will serve as a prototype for other plants. However, 38North say it may take another one to two years before the new facility becomes operational.

According to the Institute, satellite images show that work at the site stopped in December 2011. Another photo from February 3 of this year showed no change in the amount of construction at the site. 38North suspect the work stopped due to the death of Kim Jong Il, but admits a more likely explanation was that winter weather was approaching.