(CNN) – Disturbing new signs North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has ordered plutonium reprocessing to begin again at the Yongbyon nuclear complex.
The international atomic energy agency, the UN’s nuclear watchdog group warning of new signs of activity at the site.
Yukiya Smano, IAEA Director General said, “We have indications of certain activities through the satellite imagery.”
Resumption of the activities of the 5 megawatt reactor, expansion of centrifuge related facility, reprocessing, these are some of the examples of the areas, and indications are movement of vehicles, steam, discharge of warm water, transport of material.
The U.S. director of national intelligence already has said “we assess that North Korea has followed through on its announcement by expanding its Yongbyon enrichment facility and restarting the plutonium production reactor.”
The latest worrisome development from a reclusive regime, determined to have multiple paths to making a nuclear bomb.
The director general of the IAEA noted there have been no international inspectors inside North Korea since 2009 so detailed information if hard to determine.
Bruce Klingner, Heritage Foundation said, “We think they probably have 10-16 nuclear weapons. Up until now the plutonium program had been largely capped. We don’t know how expansive their uranium based parallel program has been, but now they look like they will be adding to their plutonium based nuclear weapons.”
All of this as the former top commander in the region worries increasingly about the stability of Kim Jong Un’s decision making.Gen. Curtis Scaporratti said, “My top concern remains the potential for a North Korean provocation to start a cycle of action and counteraction, which could quickly escalate.”
Parades like this just one sign North Korea is also upgrading its conventional weapons.
A pentagon report notes “North Korea fields a large, conventional, forward-deployed military that retains the capability to inflict serious damage.”
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