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Satellite Images Suggest N. Korea Has Restarted Small Nuclear Reactor 121

mdsolar writes "Recent satellite imagery suggests that North Korea has restarted a small nuclear reactor, allowing the secretive nation to potentially bolster its stockpile of plutonium for weapons, a U.S. research institute said Thursday. The North had said five months ago that it would restart key operations at its Yongbyon nuclear facility 'without delay.' The report from the U.S.-Korea Institute at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies indicates that it is quietly going ahead with that pledge — and facing few apparent problems in firing up a reactor mothballed for six years. Commercial satellite images from Aug. 31 show two plumes of white steam rising from a turbine building adjacent to the reactor. That steam is an essential byproduct of the reactor's operation, and its venting suggests the 'electrical generating system is about to come online,' the report said."
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Satellite Images Suggest N. Korea Has Restarted Small Nuclear Reactor

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  • What's the US gonna do about it?

    There's an important lesson in here about setting red lines...

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by i kan reed ( 749298 )

      North Korea developed their nukes in response to us invading a country that was disarming. Iraq showed the world that being a nuclear power is a better way of preventing invasion than cooperation.

      • And the more countries that have nuclear weapons, the less we have to rely on the US to come to the defense of others!

      • Re:Sure why not? (Score:5, Informative)

        by Quila ( 201335 ) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @11:39AM (#44830857)

        NK started their nuke program in the 80s, extracting plutonium through the 80s and 90s, resulting in their first successful test in 2006.

        • Their nuclear program goes back at least to the 1960s.

          • by Quila ( 201335 )

            I should have been more specific, their nuclear weapons program goes back to the 80s. However, I'm only talking the active program. I'm sure Kim had dreams of nukes back in the 60s too.

      • Iraq was co-operating and disarming? Gotta love that revisionist history.

        But yes, becoming a nuclear power is THE way to prevent invasion. Irrelevant of any other factors.

    • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

      Probably talk about "international norms" as if that is real thing or something...

      Then invent some reasons those "norms" don't apply to us; when China not excited about their patron state being bombed/invaded and a fight on their back porch exercises their UN veto.

    • What's the US gonna do about it?

      Obama is going to threaten North Korea that he will ask Congress for permission to do something about it!

      Congress will look to public opinion polls of their voters to decide.

      The general public will try to guess what Oprah would do, and just decide whatever they think, she thinks.

  • The timing of this announcement (plus Dennis Rodman's recent antics) makes me think that the current administration is hoping to turn to turn the page on Syria as fast as humanly possible.

    • They sure are. That's what they wanted at least from the point that it became an openly sectarian conflict with AQ-affiliated organizations fighting alongside the rebels. That's when the window of opportunity closed and the gates of clusterfuck hell opened. I wonder why there was no quick & decisive Libya-style action?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Ding ding ding we have a winner. The current administration made a bone headed line in the sand that they never dreamed Syria would cross and when they did got caught with there pants down. The American public (at least the majority) have no interest in another war in the middle east, particularly one that is already a proxy war with the Russians. Obama is stuck trying to make it look to the world that the US is not retreating from the world stage while it retreats from the world stage so any conflict where

  • by Anonymous Coward

    In the ancient times my Greek ancestors, from the Corinthians to the Macedonians and from the Cretans to the Thracians, were always impressed by the Athenian rhetors that could speak for hours about a subject, so they were influenced by them in their rhetoric art - everyone except the... Spartans that could not stand that, considering all that just babble since they were famous for their Laconic style!
    In one famus occasion some Greeks from an alied city state visited Sparta requesting help because their cro

  • And so it begins, once again. Just as North Korea begins to appear less belligerent and people like Dennis Rodman are talking up Kim as a "cool dude", North Korea turns on a dime and proves it's still Pariah #1 on the world stage. So what will it be this time, Chubs? Last time you threatened to unleash a nuclear holocaust on the You gonna invade Orlando and take Mickey and Goofey hostage? Crash the moon into the White House?

    • by Jmc23 ( 2353706 )
      Let's see, a poor nation talks brashly when threatened by the USA and you blame it on them. A poor nation turns to any means possible to get electricity flowing and it's seen as a bad thing.

      The world would be better off if the most dangerous army wasn't controlled by a nation of paranoid kool-aid swilling bullies.

      • Dude, if you're characterizing N Korea as simply a "poor nation" then you really do know NOTHING about N Korea. It's a fucking nationwide prison camp. It's a brutal cult of personality metastasized into a gun wielding psychopath. If the US did anything little part of what N Korea does everyday, you'd be the first to freak out. Why do some people's sympathies and sensitivities stop at their own nation?
        • Why do some people's sympathies and sensitivities stop at their own nation?

          Well, for the same reason they have fear and suspicion of folks with other colors of skin. That is to say, evolution found such instincts beneficial to the preservation of your genes. That's not to say you must be slaves to your baser drives. If anything, use the knowledge for good. Teach children and scientists alike how to combat such bias. Guilt over the irrational fear of other different looking or sounding or acting people when turned inward leads to hate. If an untrained mind is looking for som

      • The reactor in question was built to produce weapons grade materials. There's no reason to do so unless you plan to make weapons.

        The tech to make much cleaner, no weapons grade material output was just as available to them. If they wanted power, they wouldn't be using it.

  • So what. The USA has over 100 reactors running, and have more nuclear weapons than any other country, and is the only country to have used nuclear weapons (on children, women and other civilians) so don't worry about North Korea having a little reactor, worry about USA instead.
    • No, there are only 100 commercial reactors and only 93 of them are running right now. http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/doc-collections/event-status/reactor-status/ps.html [nrc.gov]
    • Yeah we're the only ones' to ever use them-= against a nation trying to help Hitler win WWII. A nation responsible for the Rape of Nanking. A nation that refused to unconditional surrender. . Oh, and nuking those cities , how ever little you like it, saved lives and set Japan on the path to being the prosperous, free, liberal democracy and first rate nation that it has been for decades now.

      We freed the Japanese people from the wanton abuse they were doomed to be suffering at the hands of their former natio

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Easy, just don't lead them so much!

    • So you're concerned about "children, women and other civilians?"

      I have some distressing news [theguardian.com] for you then.

    • So what. The USA has over 100 reactors running, and have more nuclear weapons than any other country,

      Untrue. Most sources agree that Russia has roughly 1000 more than USA. This is one of the reasons that Putin has been unwilling to reach any agreements to reduce the number of weapons each country has although previous leaders on both sides were able to reach such agreements in the past. Nice try at America bashing buddy, but if you'd like to deal with reality, you can consider that Putin and his government actually believe that if the US builds a missile interceptor base in Eastern Europe that it can si

      • I agree with you on most points, however, the proposed 'AEGIS Ashore' program that will place SM-3 interceptors in Europe (Romania and Poland), and use the SPY-1D(V) radar that the US Navy's Arleigh Burke-class Destroyers use, will likely put at least 100 interceptors on-site in VLS (Vertical Launch System) cells that are similar to those used by the Navy's DDGs and CGs. The DDGs can carry up to 96, while CGs can carry up to 128 (though that number is usually much smaller, due to inventory of SM-2, SM-6, E

  • by wbr1 ( 2538558 ) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @11:46AM (#44830939)
    The US gov asked n. Korea to start making noise to distract us from Syria.
  • by ThatsNotPudding ( 1045640 ) on Thursday September 12, 2013 @01:23PM (#44832099)
    That's a big assumption; they may have just finally got around the electing Best Pope.

"Oh my! An `inflammatory attitude' in alt.flame? Never heard of such a thing..." -- Allen Gwinn, allen@sulaco.Sigma.COM