May 2016: Monitoring Activities at the Yongbyon Nuclear Site

by David Albright and Serena Kelleher-Vergantini

May 27, 2016

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DigitalGlobe satellite imagery dated May 22, 2016 shows no signs of full-power operation at the 5 megawatt-electric (MWe) reactor despite the continued presence of two large open bed trucks parked in front of the reactor, which are indicators of activity at the reactor building. At the Radiochemical Laboratory, two important signatures are visible: the activity of the coal plant and the presence of tanks in front of the spent fuel reception building. These are signatures consistent with spent fuel reprocessing, although it remains difficult to determine whether plutonium separation has occurred, is occurring, or will occur in the near future. Construction is progressing at a site identified as a possible isotope separation facility. No significant new external activities are visible at the site of the Experimental Light Water Reactor and at the centrifuge plant.


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