North Korea to restart nuclear reactors

North Korea to restart nuclear reactors

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On April 2, 2013, North Korea said that it will restart all its nuclear facilities, including its operational uranium enrichment program, as well as reactors which are under construction. The Asian country warned that it will use these reactors to expand its nuclear weapons arsenal, raising the stakes in the escalating standoff with the United States and its allies.

reactors

The announcement came two days after the country’s leader Kim Jong-un called for its expansion, both in quality and quantity. Jong spoke about the expansion in a meeting of the Central Committee of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea.

The graphite moderated reactor, which runs off 5 megawatts in Yongbyon was the main source of bomb fuel for North Korea, till it was shut down under the nuclear deal with Washington in 2007, which was short-lived.

It is believed that engineers in North Korea had extracted a large amount of plutonium, which was enough for half a dozen bombs from the spent fuel that was unloaded from the reactor. Thus restarting the reactor would revive the source of plutonium and will also give Pyongyang an important tool of leverage to deal with the US as the North will have two sources of fuel for atomic bombs.