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Global Security Newswire

Daily News on Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Weapons, Terrorism and Related Issues

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North Korea Constructs Roof for New Reactor

Recent satellite pictures show that North Korea has constructed and placed a roof on its new nuclear reactor at the Yongbyon complex, RIA Novosti reported on Thursday.

The South Korean news channel KBS said it had "exclusively" obtained the surveillance images that reveal the partially constructed light-water reactor has a height of more than 131 feet and a diameter greater than 72 feet. The exterior sides of the site's turbine structure now "appear to be organized," according to the news report.

The International Atomic Energy Agency has previously noted the fast pace of work at the reactor, which is a cause of concern as it might be used to produce plutonium for North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

The satellite photographs also reveal apparent new digging activity around a recently excavated underground passageway. KBS said it possessed freshly snapped images of the North's atomic testing site though it did not share any other specifics.

Separately, the North and Japan on Thursday started new discussions on a range of matters in Mongolia that are slated to wrap up on Friday, the Associated Press reported.

This week's talks are a follow-on to bilateral discussions held at a lower level this summer. Tokyo and Pyongyang do not have official diplomatic ties. Japanese government officials signaled that they anticipated the discussions would be difficult and not lead to any notable advances over the short-term.

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