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Large-scale water release from nuclear reactor in North Korea, IAEA

Large-scale water release from nuclear reactor in North Korea, IAEA IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi (Photo: GettyImages)

Since mid-October, North Korea has been experiencing a "large-scale" release of water from a nuclear reactor at the Yongbyon complex, according to Yonhap.

Rafael Grossi, the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), outlined his agency's findings after monitoring a light water reactor (LWR) located at a nuclear facility situated 100 kilometers to the north of Pyongyang.

"Increased levels of activity have been observed at and near the LWR," he said in the statement posted on the IAEA website. "Since mid-October 2023, a strong water outflow has been observed from the LWR cooling system. These observations are consistent with the commissioning of the LWR," he said.

Grossi emphasized Yongbyon's ongoing activities and reiterated that North Korea's "apparent" continuation of its nuclear program violates UN Security Council (UNSC) resolutions. The publication notes that North Korea's actions are a clear violation. He hinted at a possible test launch of the facility, which could be designed to produce more fissile material for nuclear bombs.

"The 5MW(e) reactor was shut down for three to four weeks during September and early October 2023, however, there are now indications of operation," he said. "There are also indications of ongoing operation of the reported centrifuge enrichment facility and its annex."

DPRK's attempts to launch a spy satellite into orbit

In May of this year, North Korea (DPRK) attempted to launch the Malligyong-1 spy satellite into orbit. Unfortunately, the launch vehicle suffered a mishap and crashed into the Yellow Sea.

On June 16, South Korea located and recovered various parts of the rocket and the satellite from the seabed. An analysis of these components led experts to conclude that the "satellite" was not suited for reconnaissance purposes.

A second launch was undertaken by the DPRK on August 23. Tokyo stated that Pyongyang utilized illegal ballistic missile technology, and the projectile passed through the airspace close to Okinawa.

Furthermore, on November 22, North Korea proclaimed that they launched a ballistic missile, which carried a spy satellite successfully.