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N. Korea Reportedly Resumes Work on 2 Nuclear Reactors

From Associated Press

North Korea has resumed the construction of two nuclear reactors suspended under a 1994 agreement with the United States, a Japanese newspaper reported Thursday.

North Korea restarted work on a 50,000-kilowatt reactor in Yongbyon and a 200,000-kilowatt reactor in Taechon -- both of which produce plutonium -- Japanese daily Nihon Keizai said, quoting unidentified U.S. government and other sources.

Japan’s Foreign Ministry said it could not confirm the report.

North Korea had suspended construction of the two reactors under the 1994 deal in exchange for energy aid and two light-water reactors that are less likely to be used in arms development.

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The regime in Pyongyang recently “indirectly” notified Washington that it had resumed the construction of the nuclear plants, the Nihon Keizai quoted the sources as saying. The resumption was also confirmed by spy satellites, the paper said.

North Korea asserted in February that it had nuclear weapons and has since made moves that would allow it to harvest more weapons-grade plutonium.

North Korea also said through its official news media in May that it would be preparing to restart the construction.

It is expected to take several years for the reactors to be completed, and the U.S. does not think the latest resumption of construction immediately escalates the nuclear threat from North Korea, the report said.

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