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The reactor has been closed since 2007

North Korea has decided to restart an old nuclear reactor for both electricity and military purposes.

The country wants to reactivate a nuclear reactor at the Yongbyon nuclear plant. The 5MW reactor is aged (from the Soviet era) and has been closed since 2007. It shut down due to one of its cooling towers blowing up.

According to North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un, this isn't necessarily an effort to create a confrontation with the United States. Rather, the nuclear weapons would serve as a deterrent to ensure North Korea's safety. 

"Our nuclear strength is a reliable war deterrent and a guarantee to protect our sovereignty," Kim said. "It is on the basis of a strong nuclear strength that peace and prosperity can exist and so can the happiness of people's lives."

It's unclear whether North Korea's grid is even connected to the nuclear plant for electricity purposes. 


This news comes at a very sensitive time, as North Korea's foreign minister threatened to nuke the U.S. last month amid tensions between the countries.

"Since the United States is about to ignite a nuclear war, we will be exercising our right to preemptive nuclear attack against the headquarters of the aggressor in order to protect our supreme interest,"it said at the time.

China has grown tired of North Korea's behavior as well, and even 
imposed harsh sanctions on the country. Under the new sanctions, China and others who trade with North Korea can no longer define what a luxury item is -- meaning that many items such as yachts, luxury automobiles, and certain jewelry are now banned.

China was hoping to start denuclearization talks with North Korea soon, but with this recent news, it looks like that effort may not make any progress. A foreign ministry spokesman in Beijing made note that China is against North Korea restarting the nuclear reactor. 

North Korea has been conducting nuclear tests over the years, which the UN has frowned on. T
he first North Korean nuclear test in 2006 was under 1 kiloton and the second in 2009 was about 2-7 kilotons. The third, which occurred this past February, measured "approximately several kilotons."

It's unclear how long it will take to restart the nuclear reactor. 

Source: Reuters



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The Shadow of ...
By WoWCow on 4/2/2013 11:21:32 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
The country wants to reactivate a nuclear reactor at the Yongbyon nuclear plant. The 5MW reactor is aged (from the Soviet era) and has been closed since 2007. It shut down due to one of its cooling towers blowing up.


Given the lack of quality and safety control in NK... man I feel bad for their neighboring nations.




RE: The Shadow of ...
By rudolphna on 4/2/2013 11:35:00 AM , Rating: 2
From what I've read, the reactor they have there is very similar to the RBMK1000 type reactor used at Chernobyl. Graphite moderated, light water reactor. Let's hope they've implemented the safety upgrades that were rolled out after the Chernobyl disaster.


RE: The Shadow of ...
By chromal on 4/2/2013 4:03:44 PM , Rating: 2
The plant in question is:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yongbyon_Nuclear_Scie...
Actually somewhat of a research facility. Interestingly, unlike a typical US nuclear power plant, it has all the facilities for fabricating fuel, storing spent fuel, and reprocessing spent fuel (for isotopes) on-site. A nuclear industry microcosm.

The 5MWe Magnox reactor does produce combined heat and power, but clearly its primary purpose is to tech nuclear technology and enable the production of isotopes. You're wrong to compare this carbon dioxide gas cooled reactor with Chernobyl's water-cooled RMBK type. The explosive pressure buildup that Chernobyl experienced when its cooling water was boiled into steam would be impossible-- the coolant is already a gas in a MAGNOX reactor.


RE: The Shadow of ...
By rudolphna on 4/2/2013 5:40:55 PM , Rating: 2
Hmm, well I supposed that makes it more difficult. I was reading the article wrong. I thought it said it was light water cooled. So other than the coolant used though, it looks very similar to the RBMK channel type reactor. Thankfully though I suppose with gas cooling you don't have to worry about having a high positive void coefficient.


RE: The Shadow of ...
By Breakfast Susej on 4/2/2013 9:52:38 PM , Rating: 2
I feel bad for the people chosen to work at that reactor when they fire it up.


RE: The Shadow of ...
By laviathan05 on 4/3/2013 10:23:31 AM , Rating: 2
I feel bad for them as well, along with almost every other citizen that lives in North Korea.


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