North Korea's Reactor Reboot Has Begun: Report
Construction can be seen in satellite photos: Think tank
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Apr 4, 2013 5:02 AM CDT
Updated Apr 4, 2013 7:55 AM CDT
In this Feb. 14, 2008 file photo released by US researchers, the empty inner structure of a cooling tower at the Nyongbyon Nuclear Center in Nyongbyon, also known as Yongbyon, North Korea, is shown.   (AP Photo/S.S. Hecker, File)

(Newser) – Looks like North Korea may be making good on at least one of its threats: After saying it would restart its Yongbyon nuclear reactor, it has apparently launched construction on the site, according to a US think tank. The construction appears visible in a March 27 satellite image of Yongbyon, say experts at Johns Hopkins University, per AFP. The work may be to replace cooling mechanisms that North Korea destroyed under a Bush administration agreement. When working, the reactor can produce 13 pounds of plutonium annually.

  • In another possible sign of action, the government has moved a missile to the east coast, the South's defense head says. Though its range is "considerable," it's not enough to reach the US and may have been moved for training purposes. The weapon is reportedly a Musudan, with a 1,900 mile range; Guam is some 2,200 miles away, the New York Times notes.
  • Meanwhile, the North continues to make threats regarding the Kaesong industrial zone, Reuters reports. Northern officials said that if Southern media "bad-mouthing" continues, "we will be taking the stern measure of pulling out all of our workers"—some 53,000 people, the Times notes. That would amount to a closure of the park, which diplomats in the South consider a "red line," the Wall Street Journal reports.
  • South Korean workers at Kaesong, however, are largely holding their ground, Reuters notes. Only 222 out of 828 who stayed at the site overnight said they planned to go home today. But the North has been denying access to those attempting to cross the border from the South to enter the park, the Times reports.
  • Reports that Pyongyang was requiring Southern workers to exit Kaesong by April 10, however, have been inaccurate, the South says, per the Journal. Instead, the North had simply sought information on planned border crossings by staffers at South Korean businesses; Pyongyang wanted to know how many employees would be heading back to Seoul by that date.

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Showing 3 of 42 comments
TheJman
Apr 4, 2013 12:06 PM CDT
Great...North Korea's dictator continues to arm them while our dictator here in the USA continues to disarm our military and our citizens!
Fuzzytoes
Apr 4, 2013 12:05 PM CDT
We did what appears to be the dumbest thing in years. We flew bombers capable of carrying nuclear bombs, whether on board or not, whether armed or not over a hostile country. Why? If Russia were to do the same to us what would we do? What would we think? Panic and set up defenses that's what! Now our military has to be on constant alert for a possible launch. Slim chance but possible. Why did we do it? Perhaps to fire up the media on possibilities of war and to take peoples minds off of the greatest financial crisis our country has ever faced. A simple form of manipulation, is that possible? Have you heard the DOW is at an all time high? Why isn't anyone excited about that? Is it Perhaps because the Federal Reserve is feeding it with stimulus (phony) money? Think people, I think we are being fed propaganda and if you think our government is above propaganda think again.
BobbyRicigliano
Apr 4, 2013 11:48 AM CDT
I for one am glad they are starting the reactor. It's about time they gave the people air.