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US reports activity at plutonium-producing laboratory in North Korea

November 20, 2014, 9:54 UTC+3 TOKYO
Satellite imagery taken of the Yongbyon nuclear center in early November show vapor clouds at a radio-chemical laboratory
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© ITAR-TASS/EPA

TOKYO, November 20. /TASS/. New activity was detected at a weapons-grade plutonium-producing laboratory at the Yongbyon nuclear scientific research center in North Korea that is confirmed in a report of experts from the US-Korea Institute of American John Hopkins University published on Thursday.

Satellite imagery taken of the Yongbyon nuclear center in early November show vapor clouds at a radio-chemical laboratory, cargo-carrying vehicles at the 5 MW reactor were also noticed. The report has drawn a conclusion that North Korean nuclear engineers can remove fuel rods to produce plutonium.

In 2007 upon results of talks with negotiators from the United States, Russia, Japan, South Korea and China, North Korea agreed to shut down the Yongbyon nuclear center in exchange for economic and humanitarian aid. In 2009, Pyongyang quitted these talks and expelled International Atomic Energy Agency IAEA inspectors from Yongbyon.

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