- Title: NORTH KOREA-NUCLEAR/FILE North Korea says main nuclear complex in full operation
- Date: 15th September 2015
- Summary: SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA (SEPTEMBER 15, 2015) (REUTERS) WOMAN LOOKING AT COMPUTER SCREEN
- Embargoed: 30th September 2015 13:00
- Topics: General
- Reuters ID: LVA32DZOT5PHV60X79KGOEQ8NJQS
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS MATERIAL WHICH WAS ORIGINALLY 4:3
EDITORS PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS EDITED KRT MATERIAL
North Korea said on Tuesday (September 15) its main nuclear complex, which has been the source of fissile material used in the country's atomic weapons programme, was operating and said it was working to improve its nuclear weapons "in quality and quantity."
The comments follow a declaration by the North in 2013 vowing to restart all nuclear facilities, including the main nuclear reactor in Yongbyon that had been shuttered in 2007.
"All the nuclear facilities in Yongbyon including the uranium enrichment plant and 5 MW graphite-moderated reactor were rearranged, changed or readjusted and they started normal operation," KCNA news agency said, quoting the director of its atomic agency.
"Our scientists, technicians, and workers engaged in the field of atomic energy are working to improve its nuclear weapons in quality and quantity," KCNA said.
"If the U.S. and other hostile forces persistently seek their reckless hostile policy towards the DPRK and behave mischievously, the DPRK is fully ready to cope with them with nuclear weapons any time," the director was quoted as saying.
DPRK is short for the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. The country often makes threats against the United States and South Korea.
Innovations have been made to improve nuclear weapons "in quality and quantity as required by the prevailing situation," the director was quoted as saying.
Late on Monday (September 14), the North's space agency said it was readying a new satellite for launch, indicating it may fire an upgraded long-range ballistic missile timed to a national anniversary next month.
Recent satellite imagery of the Yongbyon complex indicated new activity at two areas there - the main reactor and a chemical laboratory, where spent fuel can be converted to fuel for nuclear arms, according to 38 North, a website run by the U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University.
The activities could be part of work to produce new nuclear material that would be a step toward adding to the country's nuclear stockpile, 38 North said last week.
North Korea declared in April 2013 at the height of tensions arising from Pyongyang's anger over joint military drills by U.S. and South Korean forces that it will restart all nuclear facilities.
The Yongbyon plant had been shut in 2007 under an agreement with five countries including the United States and China in exchange for diplomatic and economic incentives.
In 2008, North Korea destroyed the cooling tower at its plutonium-producing reactor in a symbolic move to show its commitment to an international nuclear deal.
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