Photos Show North Korea Expands Uranium Plant | Canberra weather


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Recent satellite images show that North Korea is expanding a uranium enrichment plant at its main nuclear complex in Yongbyon, a sign that it intends to increase production of bomb materials, experts say. The assessment comes after North Korea recently conducted its first missile tests in six months as part of a long-dormant nuclear disarmament diplomacy with the United States. “The expansion of the enrichment plant likely indicates that North Korea is planning to increase its production of military-grade uranium at the Yongbyon site by up to 25%,” said Jeffrey Lewis and two other experts. from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey. in a report. The report says satellite images taken by Maxar show construction in an area adjacent to the Yongbyon uranium enrichment plant. A satellite image taken on September 1 shows North Korea clearing trees and preparing the ground for construction, with a construction excavator also visible. The report says a second image taken on September 14 showed a wall erected to fence off the area, work on a foundation, and panels removed from the side of the enrichment building to provide access to the newly closed area. “The new area is approximately 1,000 square meters, enough space to house an additional 1,000 centrifuges,” the report said. “Adding 1,000 new centrifuges would increase the plant’s capacity to produce highly enriched uranium by 25%. Nuclear weapons can be built using either highly enriched uranium or plutonium, and North Korea has facilities to produce both at Yongbyon. Earlier satellite photos of Yongbyon last month showed signs that North Korea was resuming operation of other facilities to produce military-grade plutonium. North Korea calls the Yongbyon complex “the heart” of its nuclear program. US and South Korean experts believe North Korea is secretly operating several other uranium enrichment plants. In 2018, a senior South Korean official told parliament that North Korea has already manufactured up to 60 nuclear weapons. Over the past week, North Korea launched ballistic and cruise missiles out to sea in tests seen as an effort to diversify its missile forces and bolster its attack capability against South Korea and Japan. , where a total of 80,000 US troops are based. Experts say both types of missiles could be armed with nuclear warheads. Associated Australian Press


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