North: Probable Production of Additional Plutonium in Yongbyon

North: Probable Production of Additional Plutonium in Yongbyon

North: Probable Production of Additional Plutonium in Yongbyon

Our top story this afternoon, North Korea, since last September, seems to have added some plutonium to its stockpiles for nuclear weapons though the amount isn't yet known. The report said the radiochemical laboratory was operating on and off and that there have been at least two reprocessing campaigns to produce an undetermined amount of plutonium.

"The United States should understand that until they will not stop their hostile policy against North Korea, the missile and nuclear program of Pyongyang would never become the point of discussion and the dialogue on North Korea's denuclearization would never happen", the KCNA statement said.

The respected 38 North website, a monitoring project linked to Johns Hopkins University, said on Friday that thermal imagery of the Yongbyon nuclear complex appeared to show that Pyongyang had reprocessed spent fuel rods at least twice between last September and last month. Researchers also detected increased thermal activity, possibly the result of centrifuge operations, at another facility dedicated to uranium enrichment. Officials and experts say it could test a sixth at any time, despite US-led global efforts to curb its programme.

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Tensions escalated in the peninsula in July when North Korea tested an intercontinental ballistic missile, believed to be capable of hitting targets as far away as Alaska.

If the rogue state is processing plutonium and uranium, it is very likely the North Korean regime intends to expand its nuclear arsenal, a deeply concerning discovery given North Korea's recent test of an intercontinental ballistic missile that some experts assess could strike the USA, specifically Alaska, parts of the Pacific Northwest, and possibly even the West Coast. With each test, the explosive yield increases, enhancing North Korea's ability to rain down devastation on those countries it considers enemies.

It said the increase could be due to short-term activity such as the heating of pipes to prevent freezing but "any activity at the ELWR is cause for concern and its operational status bears continued monitoring as it would be an indicator of North Korean ongoing intentions and capabilities".

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Bombs made from this plutonium are more powerful than those made from weapons-grade uranium.

North Korea may have more plutonium that could be used to boost its nuclear weapons stockpile than previously thought, according to a US monitoring group.

Tritium is a key component used for making sophisticated thermonuclear weapons, such as a hydrogen bomb that the North Korean government claimed to have tested in January a year ago. The latest launch triggered a new round of condemnation and anger, with the USA and its allies seeking toughened measures at the Security Council.

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