North Korea’s Yongbyon nuclear facility resumes operation
North Korea’s main nuclear facility at the Yongbyon complex has resumed normal operations after it was shut down in 2007.
With this development it appears that North Korea is intensifying nuclear and ballistic missile development efforts in quality and quantity.
Yongbyon’s reactor was shut down in 2007 under a six-nation aid-for-disarmament accord. But the dictatorial Kim Jong Un regime vowed to restart it again in 2013, following its third nuclear test and amid high regional tensions.
The reactor at this nuclear facility has been the source of plutonium for North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme. If it is re-started, the reactor could potentially enrich plutonium to make one nuclear bomb per year.
Presently, North Korea is under United Nations economic sanctions for its strategic nuclear weapons programme and it was further tightened after its 2013 test.
North Korea’s nuclear weapons Test and NPT
- In 2009, North Korea had declared that it had developed a nuclear weapon and has become a fully-fledged nuclear power. The communist country probably possesses a small stockpile of relatively simple nuclear weapons.
- Nuclear Test: North Korea had successfully conducted its first nuclear test in October 2006 with yield less than a kiloton.
- The second test was conducted on May 25, 2009 with estimated yield between 2 and 7 kilotons. It is also believed that in 2013, third underground nuclear test was carried.
- Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT): North Korea is fourth fully-fledged nuclear country after India, Israel and Pakistan which has never joined the NPT. Actually, North Korea had acceded to the NPT in 1985 but never came into compliance and withdrawn itself in 2003.