(SEOUL) A high level of activity was detected at North Korea’s main nuclear complex using satellite images, according to think tank 38 North, after leader Kim Jong-un called Tuesday to increase the production of “military nuclear material”.
Satellite images taken between March 3 and 17 suggest that construction of a light water reactor at the Yongbyon site is “close to completion”, according to 38 North, which is based in the United States. United.
According to these same images, the construction of a building has begun, while water discharges from the cooling system have been detected, suggesting that the reactor is about to “be operational”, details the report of the group of reflection.
A five-megawatt reactor at Yongbyon also continues to operate, and new construction has begun around the site’s uranium enrichment plant, likely to increase its capacity.
“These developments appear to reflect Kim Jong-un’s recent directive to increase the production of fissile material to bolster his nuclear arsenal,” 38 North analyzed.
State media on Tuesday showed North Korea’s No. 1, who has called for increased production of “military nuclear material” in order to “exponentially” increase the production of nuclear weapons, inspecting a row of smaller warheads that appear to be tactical nuclear warheads.
Experts say the tactical nuclear weapons are a sign that North Korea is making technical progress, and seem to indicate that the country is preparing for a seventh nuclear test.
For their part, Seoul and Washington have been warning of a new North Korean nuclear test since the beginning of 2022.
While the two allied countries have strengthened their joint military exercises, Pyongyang is still carrying out missile launches and tests, while blaming Seoul for the deterioration of regional security.
The official KCNA news agency on Sunday denounced the series of joint drills conducted by Washington and Seoul, warning of North Korea’s “nuclear attack capability”.
The North Korean army, which has increased its military exercises in recent weeks, said on Tuesday it had carried out a second test of what it presented as an “underwater nuclear attack drone”.
While Pyongyang has called its status as a nuclear power in 2022 “irreversible”, the North Korean leader ordered his military this month to step up military maneuvers for “real war”.