Why is North Korea resuming its nuclear programme? | The Stream

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North Korea appears to have restarted a nuclear reactor believed to have previously produced plutonium for weapons, according to a report from the UN atomic agency.

The International Atomic Energy Agency's assessment is based on satellite pictures of the Yongbyon nuclear plant because the group has not had access to the site since 2009 when North Korea kicked out its inspectors.

“Since early July 2021, there have been indications, including the discharge of cooling water, consistent with the operation of the reactor,” the report noted of the facility.

The report also pointed out that from December 2018 until July 2021 there had been no indication of reactor operations at the site.

Some analysts believe the resumption of North Korea’s nuclear programme signals Pyongyang is looking for the upper hand if and when negotiations with the West resume. North Korea has said it isn’t interested in talks unless the US is willing to ease sanctions.

In this episode of The Stream, we discuss the implications of Pyongyang expanding its nuclear program and its potential impact on the Korean peninsula and beyond.

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