Isotope Production Laboratory

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Last Updated: September 30, 2011
Other Name: 동위원소생산가공연구소; 동위원소가공실험실; Isotope Processing Laboratory; Isotope Processing Research Institute; Radioactive Isotope Processing Laboratory; Radioisotope Use Institute; Radioisotope Utilization Research Institute
Location: Bungang-jigu (분강지구), Yongbyon-gun (영변군), North Pyeongan Province (평안북도), North Korea
Subordinate To: Yongbyon Nuclear Research Center (영변원자력연구센터), the 5th Machine Industry Bureau (5기계공업총국), Korean Workers' Party (조선노동당)
Size: The laboratory has seven hot cells and glove boxes
Facility Status: Operational

The primary function of the Laboratory is the production of isotopes for medical and industrial use, handling of radioactive materials, extraction of plutonium from spent fuel rods, and research and development. Located adjacent to the IRT-2000 research reactor, it was built with Soviet Union’s help and reportedly became operational in 1975. [1] A mixer-settler test stand was used to do basic research on uranium and plutonium chemistry. [2] It was in this laboratory that North Korea admitted extracting for the first time a small amount of plutonium using spent fuel removed from the IRT-2000 reactor. [3] This laboratory was not included in the original list of facilities submitted to the Internationl Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and was only discovered during site inspection in May 1992. [4] North Korea claimed this laboratory was used to develop isotopes for medical uses. [5]

Despite its history of plutonium extraction, the laboratory was not frozen under the Agreed Framework of 1994, and it is not under IAEA safeguards. [6]

Sources:
[1] Bermudez, Jr., Joseph S., "Exposing North Korea's Secret Nuclear Infrastructure - Part Two,” Jane's Intelligence Review, Vol. 11, Is. 8, 1 August 1999.
[2] Oh Kuen-bae, et. al., "북한의 원자력 아용개발 현황 분석 및 전망 연구 [Study on the Status of Nuclear Development and Utilization in North Korea],” KAERI/RR1298/1993, Korea Atomic Energy Institute, December 1993, p. 51.
[3] Michael May, ed., "Verifying the Agreed Framework," The Center for Global Security Research Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and The Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University, April 2001, p. 68, http://cisac.stanford.edu; Hong Yoon-oh, “핵시설 18곳에 인력 3,000명 [3,000 Workers at 18 Nuclear Facilities],” Hanguk Daily, 24 October 1994, http://news.hankooki.com.
[4] Bermudez, Jr., Joseph S., "Exposing North Korea's Secret Nuclear Infrastructure - Part Two,” Jane's Intelligence Review, Vol. 11, Is. 8, 1 August 1999.
[5] Oh Kuen-bae, et. al., "북한의 원자력 아용개발 현황 분석 및 전망 연구 [Study on the Status of Nuclear Development and Utilization in North Korea],” KAERI/RR1298/1993, Korea Atomic Energy Institute, December 1993, p. 52.
[6] Michael May, ed., "Verifying the Agreed Framework," The Center for Global Security Research Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and The Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University, April 2001, p. 68, http://cisac.stanford.edu; Kang Tae-ho, “북-미 ‘핵연구소 사찰’ 쟁점 부상’ [Issues with North Korean Nuclear Laboratory Inspection],” Hankyoreh, 12 April 2002, www.hani.co.kr.

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