Nuclear Fears Spike Over North Korea Satellite Images

( – New satellite images and a report from a private company are suggesting that North Korea is enriching uranium and producing weapons-grade plutonium. Maxar is the company that claims credit for the images and the report discussing them came from an alternative press outlet.

The manufacturing center involved is called the Yongbyon nuclear complex and it’s located in North Pyongan Province. The U.S. has repeatedly attempted to halt production at the facility by harsh economic sanctions. Infra-red and high resolution images taken on May 14 suggest that they discharged coolant into the Kuryong River, indicating that the plant is functional.

The outlet added that this is the eleventh time coolant was discharged in the past six months. Thermal imaging also detected extreme radiation at the facility’s radiochemical laboratory as well as its uranium enrichment building, suggesting activity.

NASA’s Landsat 8 satellite confirmed the data, demonstrating that there were extreme shifts in temperature on the site ranging from 13 to 28 degrees Celsius.

Maxar was responsible for satellite images taken over the facility in 2021 that showed the North Koreans were expanding the site.

Professor at Middlebury Institute of International Studies and weapons expert Jeffrey Lewis told the corporate press that the expansion project undertaken at the time would enhance North Korea’s ability to produce weapons-grade radioactive material. Lewis cited the expansion as concurrent with adding more centrifuges and thus increasing the capacity for uranium enrichment.

The U.N. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has repeatedly condemned the North’s pursuit of nuclear weapons which is in violation of international law.

North Korea proposed shutting down the site in 2019. They were asking for all sanctions to be lifted except those specifically attempting to abrogate its nuclear weapons development. The deal never went anywhere after months of negotiation.

North Korea has been engaged in multiple provocations in recent months, including regular long-range missile tests which harass neighboring Japan. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is intent on developing the technology despite international condemnation.

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