ROK accuses N. Korea of restoring facilities at destroyed Yongbyon nuclear reactor

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Pyongyang, Oct 6 (ANI): South Korea's defence ministry has alleged that North Korea is restoring facilities at its Yongbyon nuclear reactor, which was destroyed in 2008 as part of an agreement made during now-stalled negotiations over the North's nuclear program.

"The DRPK is restoring nuclear facilities and continuing maintenance activities at Yongbyon. It is engaged in new construction and large-scale excavation," a spokesman quoted Defence Minister Kim Tae-young as telling parliament.

According to China Daily, the ROK foreign ministry said that Seoul is closely monitoring the work.

"There are some activities going on but we have no information on what these are for. The government is watching closely the activities there and exchanging information with other countries," the defence ministry spokesman, Kim Young-sun, said.

Earlier, an image taken last week by DigitalGlobe, a U.S.-based commercial satellite firm, had shown new construction or excavation activity in an area surrounding a destroyed cooling tower at the Yongbyon site.

According to a report by the Institute for Science and International Security, the photograph shows heavy machinery tracks, trucks, and heavy construction or excavation equipment, along with two small new buildings.

According to the Washington Post, although David Albright, who wrote the report, said that the activities are still unclear, he added that it could be an indication that North Korea is moving toward re-opening Yongbyon as part of a plan to increase its stock of plutonium, now estimated at just less than 80 pounds. (ANI)

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