The International Atomic Energy Agency explains that there were no signs of operation of the reactor from the beginning of December 2018 until the beginning of July 2021. But since the beginning of July 2021, there have been indications, including the discharge of cooling water, that correspond to the operation of the reactor.
US-based website 38 North, which analyzes developments in North Korea, participates in the assessment.
The timing looks a little strange, given the risk of flooding in the coming weeks and months, which could affect the operation of the reactor, says Director Jenny Town.
Try to reach North Korea
The IAEA report emphasized the “urgent” importance of continuing the diplomatic dialogue, according to a source close to the US government.
– The source said that we continue to seek dialogue with the DPRK (North Korea) in order to address this activity, and a whole range of issues related to denuclearization.
The International Atomic Energy Agency has not been accepted into North Korea since the Pyongyang government expelled its inspectors in 2009. Instead, the agency monitors North Korea from afar, mainly via satellite.
Summit with USA 2019
At North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s summit with former US President Donald Trump in Vietnam in 2019, Kim offered to dismantle Yongbyon (nuclear reactor) in exchange for mild sanctions against the country.
However, Trump said no, on the grounds that the reactor is only part of North Korea’s nuclear program, and that shutting down would not be enough.