North Korea’s apparent resumption of plutonium production bolsters Pyongyang’s nuclear arsenal both as a deterrent and a deal-bargaining chip for potential talks with the U.S.
Kim Jong Un’s regime is fully aware that activity at its nuclear sites is closely watched by satellite surveillance. Cooling water was recently spotted being discharged from the regime’s Yongbyon plutonium-producing reactor, a sign that it was again operational, according to a recent report by the U.N.’s atomic agency. A nearby laboratory that separates plutonium from spent fuel that had been previously removed from the Yongbyon reactor also appeared to be operational in recent months, it added.
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