IAEA Reports Significant Water Outflow from North Korea’s Yongbyon Nuclear Reactor

North Korea – The Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, has reported a significant water outflow from a light water reactor (LWR) at North Korea's Yongbyon nuclear complex. This observation suggests the potential commissioning of the facility, which is suspected to be designed for producing more fissile material for nuclear bombs.

According to Yonhap News Agency, During the IAEA's Board of Governors meeting in Vienna on Wednesday, Grossi shared insights about the activities observed at the Yongbyon complex, located approximately 100 kilometers north of Pyongyang. According to the statement posted on the IAEA website, increased levels of activity were noted at and near the LWR since mid-October 2023, with a strong water outflow observed from the reactor's cooling system, indicative of its commissioning.

The Yongbyon nuclear complex has been a focal point of international concern, as Grossi emphasized the ongoing operations at the site, including the 5MW(e) reactor and the reported centrifuge enrichment facility and its annex. The 5MW(e) reactor was shut down for a period in September and early October 2023 but now shows indications of operation.

Grossi also highlighted concerns regarding the North's Punggye-ri nuclear test site, which he said remains ready to support a new nuclear test. He described this as a cause for serious concern and a clear violation of U.N. Security Council resolutions.

Calling North Korea's nuclear activities "deeply regrettable," Grossi urged the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to comply with its obligations under relevant UNSC resolutions and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). He stressed the need for North Korea to cooperate with the IAEA and resolve outstanding issues, particularly those arising during the absence of IAEA inspectors from the country.

Grossi affirmed that the IAEA continues to maintain enhanced readiness to play a crucial role in verifying North Korea's nuclear program.

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