India

Expansion of uranium project from North Korea; Clear from the photographs

North Korea is expanding its uranium enrichment project and major developments are underway at the Yong Bayon nuclear complex. Some photographs show that materials for the atomic bomb are being made there, experts say.

North Korea has conducted three missile tests for the first time in six months, raising tensions in the region. Negotiations with the United States to halt North Korea’s nuclear program have been unsuccessful. Expansion of the uranium enrichment project has been reported to be underway and the uranium required for nuclear weapons is being refined at the Yongbayon complex. Jeffrey Lewis of the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey and two others say the project will increase capacity by 25 percent.

Photographs taken by Maxar show that the uranium project is expanding. Satellite images were taken on September 1 and North Korea has cut down some trees in the area to expand the project. Excavators are also being used. In the photograph of September 14, it is seen that walls have been built to close this part. The new area is 1000 square meters and an additional 1000 centrifuges have been installed there. As a result, uranium enrichment capacity will increase by 25 per cent.

Atomic bombs can be made with the help of pure uranium or plutonium. According to last month’s satellite imagery, North Korea is starting to produce nuclear-grade plutonium. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un told former US President Donald Trump at a summit in 2019 that he would suspend nuclear production if sanctions were lifted. But the United States’ rejection of Kim’s proposal did not stop the process of building a nuclear weapon.

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