The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) says North Korea has restarted its nuclear facility at Yongbyon, North Korea.
The Yongbyon plutonium site processes spent fuel from power stations and has been the source of plutonium for North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme.
The reactor was shut down in 2007 but Pyongyang vowed in 2013 to restart all nuclear facilities, including the main reactor at its Yongbyon site that had been shut down and has been at the heart of its weapons program.
However, Pyongyang last year announced that it was back in operation again. It has since conducted its fourth test of a nuclear weapon and also its multiple missile tests broke existing international sanctions and provoked further measures from the UN and individual countries.
The IAEA has no access to North Korea after being thrown out in 2009 and now relies largely on satellite data.
The agency said last year that it had seen signs of a resumption of activity at Yongbyon, including at the main reactor.
“Resumption of the activities of the 5 megawatt reactor, the expansion of centrifuge-related facility, reprocessing, these are some of the examples of the areas (of activity indicated at Yongbyon),” IAEA Chief Yukiya Amano told a news conference during a quarterly IAEA Board of Governors meeting.
North Korea has come under tightening international pressure over its nuclear weapons programme, including tougher UN sanctions adopted in March backed by its lone major ally China, following its most recent nuclear test in January.