IAEA: North Korea expands nuclear facilities

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Satellite images show that North Korea has been expanding several nuclear installations over the past year, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Yukiya Amano said Monday in Vienna.

“Since my last report, we have observed renovation and construction activities at various locations” within the Yongbyon nuclear complex, Amano told the IAEA’s governing board at its autumn meeting.

The building believed to house uranium enrichment centrifuges that can make bomb fuel has been doubled in size, Amano said in a separate written report, adding that the operation status of that facility is unknown.

The Yongbyon site also includes a smaller reactor and a larger one under construction.

The IAEA’s satellite observation indicated that an electrical switchyard has been built next to the larger reactor, while major technical components has yet to be installed in the reactor itself, according to the report.

The Vienna-based nuclear agency also detected activities that are apparently related to uranium mining and milling at the Pyongsan uranium mine.

North Korea has so far conducted three nuclear explosion tests, and a military spokesman declared in May that his country had succeeded in developing small atomic explosive devices, a key step towards arming missiles with warheads.

Following Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers in July, Pyongyang’s Foreign Ministry said it was not interested in negotiating a similar agreement to freeze or scale down its nuclear programme.

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