Evidence that the Yongbyon 5 Megawatt-Electric Reactor Remains Operational

by David Albright and Sarah Burkhard

February 2, 2018

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North Korea’s 5 megawatt-electric reactor at the Yongbyon nuclear center remains operational, producing plutonium for nuclear weapons. In a Digital Globe January 17, 2018 image, steam is visible coming from the reactor’s turbine building, and hot water appears to be melting snow at the discharge pipe for this reactor (see figure 1).

In a January 30, 2018 Airbus image, no steam is visible but hot water may be coming from the discharge pipe (see figure 2).

A full update on the Yongbyon nuclear site will follow soon.

Figure 1. Yongbyon 5 MWe reactor, with steam visible from the reactor’s turbine building, implying the reactor is operational.

Figure 2. Yongbyon 5 MWe reactor on January 30, 2018.

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