North Korea

North Korea has 15 nuclear facilities, says South Korean government

Most of North Korea's nuclear facilities are in Yongbyon, says report by South Korea's unification ministry

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 October, 2013, 3:52pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 15 October, 2013, 7:40pm

North Korea has 15 nuclear facilities and laboratories as of August 2013 and most of them are located in Yongbyon, the South Korean government confirmed on Monday.

Yongbyon, around 90 kilometres north of the capital Pyongyang, had 13 nuclear facilities, including a five-megawatt nuclear reactor, a 25-30 megawatt electrical (MWe) nuclear power station and an IRT-2000 research reactor, said a Ministry of Unification report submitted to lawmaker In Jae-keun.

The five-megawatt nuclear reactor was believed to have produced plutonium used in the country’s first and second nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009, reported South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency.

Other facilities at Yongbyon included a 50 MWe light water plant, a radiochemical lab, a uranium enrichment site, a production line for fuel rods, an institute for using isotopes, a nuclear fuel storage bunker, three waste management facilities and an assembly plant for fissile materials.

Pyongyang was the home of a fissile material facility, while the western coastal town of Thaechon had a new 200 MWe power station, it said.

Such sites could be used for producing nuclear weapons, reported Yonhap.

The ministry’s report did not clarify how many North Koreans were working at the facilities and whether the number of nuclear sites had increased recently.

In March, the US Congressional Research Service reported that North Korea had an estimated 20 nuclear facilities with some 3,000 workers.