Satellite Images: North Korea Continues To Upgrade Nuclear Facility

by | Jun 28, 2018 | Headline News | 12 comments

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    Satellite images show that the North Korean regime is continuing to make improvements to its nuclear facility in the wake of Kim Jong-Un’s meeting with Donald Trump. North Korea has made rapid improvements to the infrastructure at its Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center.

    According to an analysis published by 38 North, a prominent North Korea monitoring group, Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center is a facility used to produce weapons-grade fissile material.

    Commercial satellite imagery from June 21 indicates that improvements to the infrastructure at North Korea’s Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center are continuing at a rapid pace. Modifications to the 5 MWe plutonium production reactor’s cooling system appear complete, but a less-than-normal cooling water discharge from the outfall pipe makes a determination of the reactor’s operational status difficult. The status of the Radiochemical Laboratory—used to separate plutonium from spent fuel rods—remains uncertain, although the associated Thermal Plant has likely continued operations, and a small non-industrial building of an unknown purpose has been newly erected near the cooling tower. Construction continues on support facilities throughout other operational areas of Yongbyon, especially at the Experimental Light Water Reactor (ELWR), where the new engineering office building appears externally complete and a small building similar to the one observed at the Radiochemical Laboratory has been erected. –38 North

    Until specific orders are issued from Pyongyang, it is expected that North Korea will continue to conduct business as usual.  In other words, improvement to the Yongbyon facility should not be seen as having any relationship to North Korea’s pledge to denuclearize, says the report by 38 North. 

    “No change is actually a pretty significant story … this is still an active site producing plutonium for North Korea,” according to Jeffrey Lewis, a professor at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. According to CNN Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday that North Korea remains a nuclear threat, but defended president Donald Trump’s previous comment that the regime doesn’t pose as much of a threat. “I’m confident what he intended there was we did reduce the threat,” said Pompeo. “I don’t think there’s any doubt about that. We took the tension level down. I think his [Trump’s] point was a fair one,” he added. “For the moment, we have reduced risk.”

    The new images released on Wednesday lend credence to Defense Secretary James Mattis’ assessment that Pyongyang remains in a holding pattern while diplomatic negotiations continue. “The summit pledge is important, but it was not a written agreement that laid out what the North Koreans have to do — that doesn’t exist right now, so I’m not surprised they are continuing to operate their facilities,” said Joel Wit, a Senior Fellow at the Stimson Center and Director of 38 North.

    “Because Kim Jong-Un has so far avoided making a commitment to halt research and development activities, the changes are not a success or failure of the diplomatic process, but simply a signal that North Korea’s nuclear infrastructure remains fully in use,” Adam Mount, a senior fellow, and director at the Federation of American Scientists stated to CNN.

    “What is needed now is sustained and direct negotiations between the two sides on a framework for phased steps on denuclearization, as well as concrete steps toward a peace regime on the Korean peninsula,” according to Kingston Reif, director for disarmament and threat reduction policy at the Arms Control Association.


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      1. Yeah sure, as if they can actually see inside of those facilities, and see what’s going on.
        This smells like a possible neocon sabotage of the peace talks.

      2. Exactly. Stop spreading this false bullshit narrative Mac.

      3. RickE. and DMONIC, let’s all HOPE it’s a false narrative. But let’s not forget what kind of person Trump is dealing with in Kim Jong-Un. He hasn’t stopped starving his people or locking up and killing his political opponents. It will be interesting to see how this all turns out.

        • Has the Jewnited States given up its nukes yet? Has the Jewnited States withdrawn its military invaders from Korean soil? Has the Jewnited States stopped slaughtering people all over the world? Has the Jewnited States closed down its torture camps?

      4. Same shit different day. Diplomacy? bullshit, stall for time tactic…why expect anything else from this little POS, the same fucker that orders execution by anti-aircraft guns.

        Level the whole goddam place…

        Mac is on-point

      5. Both sides are in cahoots. How old is Kim Jong-Un? 16? He sure looked funny with that weird haircut on the sides of his head during the Trump pow wow meeting. I don’t believe he calls any shots of importance, might be a CIA asset like Bin Laden.

      6. Maybe the generals in NK have other ideas about peace than KJU. Maybe a coup in the little mans future?

      7. Not that you needed my sayso, but…

        “determination of the reactor’s operational status difficult.” “remains uncertain”
        “small non-industrial building of an unknown purpose”

        Let’s put this on a drink or food label. Will you swallow it? In your own words.

        The sticking point was sovereignty, or so we heard. Accept NK or deny them. It’s a building.

        paraphrased —
        “Kinetic changes are not a success or failure of the diplomatic process, but simply a signal that it depends on what the definition of is, is.”

      8. Rules of Negotiation

        9) Deal from strength if you can. If that’s not possible, at least create the appearance of strength. If the other party thinks you have no reason to compromise in your demands, he or she is less likely to ask you to.

        10) Find out what the other party wants. Concede slowly, and call a concession a concession. Giving in too easily tells the other party that you will probably be open to accepting even more concessions.

        • I’m not saying to call him a demigod, born under double rainbows.

          But, it’s called juche. They want independence.

      9. There’s nothing wrong with nuclear power and it’s not as dangerous as most people have been led to believe.

        As far as nuclear weapons are concerned, they are largely a hoax perpetrated upon humanity. Trick photography, lies and disinformation.

      10. These stinking vile mutts will never change – turn the hole into GLASS, The End!!

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