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Satellite images reportedly show significant progress on the construction of a new reactor that is believed to be a front for fuel production for nuclear weapons, news agencies cited analysts as saying on Thursday.
The reactor under construction is an experimental light-water reactor, which could be used to boost North Korea’s nuclear stockpile at a time when Kim Jong-un is working to consolidate his power. According to the satellite imagery, Pyongyang has now placed a 69-foot dome on top of the reactor building, but a Jane’s expert said the reactor was still several years away from completion.
In 2009, North Korea unveiled plans to build its own design of light-water reactor in what it described as a pilot project for a nuclear power industry. Pyongyang also at that time warned that it would seek to enrich uranium to fuel the reactor.
In 2010, Pyongyang announced it had completed construction on a centrifuge plant for uranium enrichment within the compound of its main nuclear complex. It is not clear if they are producing, plan to produce or have the capacity to produce highly enriched uranium, which could be used in nuclear weapons, at this facility.
By. Joao Peixe of Oilprice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com