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North Korea claims progress in uranium enrichment

Posted on: November 30, 2011


North Korean leader Kim Jong-il Photo:AP

An unidentified spokesman at Pyongyang’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the construction of an experimental light-water reactor and low enriched uranium are “progressing apace”.

The statement, carried by the official Korean Central News Agency, said that North Korea has a sovereign right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy and that “neither concession nor compromise should be allowed”.

Concerns about North Korea’s atomic capability took on renewed urgency in November 2010 when the country disclosed a uranium enrichment facility that could give it a second route to manufacture nuclear weapons, in addition to its existing plutonium-based programme.

North Korea has been building a light-water reactor at its main Yongbyon nuclear complex since last year. Such a reactor is ostensibly for civilian energy purposes, but it would give the North a reason to enrich uranium. At low levels, uranium can be used in power reactors, but at higher levels it can be used in nuclear bombs.

Earlier this month, North Korean state media said “the day is near at hand” when the reactor will come into operation. Washington worries about reported progress on the reactor construction, saying it would violate U.N. Security Council resolutions.

via the telegraph

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