North Korea’s Yongbyon Nuclear Complex: 5 MWe Reactor May Still be Operating

Recent commercial satellite imagery of the Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center indicates that the discharge of water from the 5 MWe Reactor into the outflow channel leading to the Kuryong River can still be observed, although intermittently. Imagery shows water being discharged from August 25 to at least September 9; no water was observed on October 1, but it was detected again the next day. While no other indicators of reactor operations, such as steam emissions from the generator building or CO2 coolant deliveries, have been observed, intermittent discharge is not uncommon when the reactor is operating.

Figure 1. No water discharge visible at 5 MWe Reactor, October 1, 2021.

Image Pleiades © CNES 2021, Distribution Airbus DS. For media options, please contact [email protected].
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