Researchers said on May 1, 2013 that North Korea will soon be ready to operate a light-water reactor. The recent decision has been taken even as there are growing concerns for the regime’s vows to build more nuclear weapons.
Researchers from the US-Korea Institute at John Hopkins University, said that the satellite pictures taken in the month of March and April 2013, had shown that the country was doing final work inside the reactor and cleaning up after completing the construction. If the reports are true then it has been enriching the uranium at the nearby Yongbyon nuclear complex since the year 2010.
Moreover, there might already be enough material to power the reactor for several years. Jeffrey Lewis and Nick Hansen, the researchers on their institute’s blog wrote, “This would mean start-up activities could begin in the coming weeks”. The estimation for the start time is earlier than what was presumed before.
The institute said in a report, that the key factor is the availability of the reactor fuel. The county might need a month’s time to become fully operational and light-water reactors would ostensibly provide energy to resource poorer nations. However, the reactor can also be used to produce plutonium for nuclear weapons.