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North Korea Says It Has Resumed Plutonium Production

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TOKYO (Reuters)–North Korea says it has resumed plutonium production by reprocessing spent fuel rods and has no plans to stop nuclear tests as long as perceived U.S. threats remain, Japan’s Kyodo news agency reported on Wednesday.

North Korea’s Atomic Energy Institute, which has jurisdiction over the country’s Yongbyon nuclear facilities, also told Kyodo it had been producing highly enriched uranium necessary for nuclear arms and power “as scheduled.”

“We have reprocessed spent nuclear fuel rods removed from a graphite-moderated reactor,” the institute told Kyodo in a written interview.

The institute did not disclose the amount of plutonium or enriched uranium it had produced, Kyodo said, but it has been understood for months that North Korea has resumed plutonium production at the site.

In June, the U.N. nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, said North Korea appeared to have reopened the Yongbyon plant to produce plutonium from spent fuel, and a senior official of the U.S. State Department said North Korea had restarted production of element. – READ MORE

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