North Korean Nuclear Capabilities

Explainer

UN watchdog: North Korea may have restarted nuclear reactor, putting world at risk

By Annie Andersen (Political editor)

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or North Korea as it is commonly known, may have restarted a nuclear reactor that many believe is used to make plutonium for nuclear weapons. 

That’s according to a recently released report from the International Atomic Energy Agency. The IAEA is considered the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog.

According to the IAEA, experts saw cooling water discharge in July, leading them to believe the Yongbyon plant has been restarted. This is the first time they’ve seen the discharge since December 2018.

In the report, the IAEA said North Korea’s “nuclear activities continue to be a cause for serious concern.” The report went on to say, “The continuation of the DPRK’s nuclear programme is a clear violation of relevant UN Security Council resolutions.”

What does that mean for America?

According to the Council on Foreign Relations, North Korea has tested all sorts of different missiles, including some intercontinental ones. Experts aren’t sure how many missiles North Korea has in its arsenal. United States intelligence officials believe when they last checked, North Korea had enough “fissile material—the core component of nuclear weapons—for sixty-five weapons, and that every year it produces enough fissile material for twelve additional weapons.”

In November 2017, North Korea tested one of its missiles and it went higher than the International Space Station before landing just off Japan’s coast. The Council on Foreign Relations estimates that had that missile been shot in a flatter manner, that missile could reach anywhere on the U.S. mainland. 

The United Nations is limited in how it can respond to North Korea. If North Korea is bombed, the fear is it will retaliate against its neighbors, putting them at risk.

Dr. Jeffrey Lewis, an American expert in nuclear nonproliferation and geopolitics who works as an Adjunct Professor at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey and director of the CNS East Asia Nonproliferation Program explained, “We’re going to have to learn to live with North Korea’s ability to target the United States with nuclear weapons.”

Annie Andersen: BETWEEN HURRICANES AND WILDFIRES AND EARTHQUAKES AMERICANS HAVE PLENTY TO WORRY ABOUT  

BUT WHAT ABOUT A NUCLEAR ATTACK? ISN’T THE COLD WAR OVER?

THIS TIME IT’S NORTH KOREA. THEY MAY HAVE RESTARTED A NUCLEAR REACTOR USED TO MAKE PLUTONIUM FOR NUCLEAR WEAPONS. 

THAT’S ACCORDING TO THE UNITED NATIONS’ NUCLEAR WATCHDOG.

THEIR REPORT POINTS OUT NORTH KOREA’S “NUCLEAR ACTIVITIES CONTINUE TO BE A CAUSE FOR SERIOUS CONCERN.”

SO —  HOW SERIOUS?

COULD ONE OF THESE NUKES REACH HAWAII?

WHAT ABOUT THE WEST COAST?

OR EVEN REACH AS FAR AS WASHINGTON DC?

LET’S GET THIS STRAIGHT.

NORTH KOREA TESTED ALL SORTS OF DIFFERENT MISSILES, INCLUDING SOME INTERCONTINENTAL ONES ACCORDING TO THE COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS.

AND MORE SCARY NEWS- WE DON’T KNOW HOW MANY MISSILES THEY HAVE IN THEIR INVENTORY. 

IN 20-18 U-S INTELLIGENCE OFFICIALS DETERMINED NORTH KOREA HAD ABOUT 65 MISSILES. AND THE ABILITY TO PRODUCE AN ADDITIONAL 12 MORE PER YEAR.  

AND IN 2019 RESEARCHERS REPORTED THERE COULD BE ABOUT 20 UNDISCLOSED MISSILE LOCATIONS THROUGHOUT NORTH KOREA.

IN 2017, NORTH KOREA TESTED ONE OF ITS MISSILES. IT WENT HIGHER THAN THE INTERNATIONAL SPACE STATION BEFORE LANDING JUST OFF JAPAN’S COAST. 

SO NOT SUPER CLOSE TO THE UNITED STATES… BUT IF FIRED DIFFERENTLY, THE SAME RANGE COULD REACH ANYWHERE IN THE MAINLAND US ACCORDING TO THE COUNCIL ON FOREIGN RELATIONS.

THAT MEANS, EVERYONE FROM CALIFORNIA TO MAINE COULD BE AT RISK….

NOT MUCH…

THE UNITED STATES CAN BOMB THE MISSILE SITES, BUT THERE IS REAL A FEAR NORTH KOREA WOULD RETALIATE AGAINST ITS SOUTHERN NEIGHBOR. 

DIPLOMACY HASN’T WORKED.

DONALD TRUMP <<”CHAIRMAN KIM AND I JUST SIGNED A JOINT STATEMENT IN WHICH HE RE-AFFIRMED HIS UNWAVERING COMMITMENT TO COMPLETE DENUCLEARIZATION OF THE KOREAN PENINSULA.”>>

Annie Andersen: MONTHS AFTER THAT AGREEMENT, NORTH KOREA HELD A PARADE SHOWING OFF ITS BIGGEST INTERCONTINENTAL MISSILE EVER. 

THE WOODROW WILSON CENTER RESEARCHED THE U-S/NORTH KOREA RELATIONSHIP. THEY SAID BY THE END OF TRUMP’S TERM, “HE HAD LITTLE MORE TO SHOW FOR HIS EFFORTS THAN A DRAWER FULL OF FLATTERING LETTERS. FOR ALL OF THE TALK OF THEIR GREAT PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP, KIM JONG UN HAD ONLY ADVANCED HIS CAPABILITIES ONCE AGAIN.

MIDDLEBURY INSTITUTE OF STRATEGIC STUDIES SAYS “WE’RE GOING TO HAVE TO LEARN TO LIVE WITH NORTH KOREA’S ABILITY TO TARGET THE UNITED STATES WITH NUCLEAR WEAPONS.”

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF NORTH KOREA AS A NUCLEAR THREAT?

LET US KNOW IN THE COMMENTS BELOW, AND MAKE SURE TO RATE THIS STORY USING THE BIAS METER ON OUR WEBSITE STRAIGHTARROWNEWS DOT COM. 

 

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The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or North Korea as it is commonly known, may have restarted a nuclear reactor that many believe is used to make plutonium for nuclear weapons. 

That’s according to a recently released report from the International Atomic Energy Agency. The IAEA is considered the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog.

According to the IAEA, experts saw cooling water discharge in July, leading them to believe the Yongbyon plant has been restarted. This is the first time they’ve seen the discharge since December 2018.

In the report, the IAEA said North Korea’s “nuclear activities continue to be a cause for serious concern.” The report went on to say, “The continuation of the DPRK’s nuclear programme is a clear violation of relevant UN Security Council resolutions.”

What does that mean for America?

According to the Council on Foreign Relations, North Korea has tested all sorts of different missiles, including some intercontinental ones. Experts aren’t sure how many missiles North Korea has in its arsenal. United States intelligence officials believe when they last checked, North Korea had enough “fissile material—the core component of nuclear weapons—for sixty-five weapons, and that every year it produces enough fissile material for twelve additional weapons.”

In November 2017, North Korea tested one of its missiles and it went higher than the International Space Station before landing just off Japan’s coast. The Council on Foreign Relations estimates that had that missile been shot in a flatter manner, that missile could reach anywhere on the U.S. mainland. 

The United Nations is limited in how it can respond to North Korea. If North Korea is bombed, the fear is it will retaliate against its neighbors, putting them at risk.

Dr. Jeffrey Lewis, an American expert in nuclear nonproliferation and geopolitics who works as an Adjunct Professor at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey and director of the CNS East Asia Nonproliferation Program explained, “We’re going to have to learn to live with North Korea’s ability to target the United States with nuclear weapons.”

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