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Images Show North Korea Building New Nuclear Reactor

An annotated satellite image released by ISIS showing the new construction at the Yongbyon nuclear site. Digital Globe-ISIS hide caption

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Digital Globe-ISIS

Let's make the whole morning international security issues, shall we?

The Institute for Science and International Security has released new satellite photos that appear to show new work at the Yongbyon nuclear facility in North Korea. The imagery, combined with a recent report from two US experts who recently visited North Korea, seem to confirm that North Korea is building a light water reactor.

Light water reactors are usually used for civilian purposes and don't threaten much of a proliferation risk, but South Korea's Foreign Minister Kim Sung-Hwan says that if North Korea is building such a reactor would be a violation of UN resolutions banning the North from any nuclear activity.

The two American experts, Siegfried Hecker, who used to head the Los Alamos National Laboratory, and Ambassador Jack Pritchard who used to be the US negotiator with North Korea, visited the North this month. They say they were shown the construction of a 25-30 megawatt reactor. Pritchard says North Korean officials told him they hoped to finish the reactor by 2012.

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