TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) -The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in a report seen Tuesday expressed concern about North Korea’s nuclear activities.
“The continuation and further development of the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea]’s nuclear program and related statements by the DPRK are a cause for grave concern.” said the report, referring to North Korea's official name.
The report by Director General Yukiya Amano is to be submitted to the IAEA's board meeting next month. The IAEA says the North is developing its nuclear program despite a previous pledge to halt it.
North Korea expelled the agency's inspectors in 2009 and never allowed them to return. Despite that, the IAEA says it has continued with the verification of the North's operations through satellite imagery and open source information.
"As the agency remains unable to carry out verification activities in the DPRK, its knowledge of the DPRK's nuclear program is limited and, as further nuclear activities take place in the country, this knowledge is declining."
The agency found out that a steam plant connected to a radiochemical laboratory at the Yongbyon nuclear site had been in operation in recent months.
Steam charges and the outflow of cooling water at the Yongbyon experimental nuclear power plant had also been observed "consistent with the reactor's operation," it noted
The IAEA found "indications consistent with the use of the reported centrifuge enrichment facility located within the plant, including the operation of the cooling units as well as regular movements of vehicles."
"Since December 2015, when the current operational cycle started, there have been indications consistent with several short periods of reactor shutdown. However, none of these periods were of sufficient duration for the complete reactor core to have been discharged. The agency's observations indicate that the current operational cycle is longer than the previous one," it said.
In June, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un met with US President Donald Trump in Singapore and agreed to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. While the summit was seen as a test for diplomacy that could end the long-running nuclear standoff, foreign policy experts say the stakes are high if it does not result in a nuclear agreement.
The North Korean leader has already told Trump that denuclearization depends on ceasing antagonism between the two nations, while the United States says tough sanctions will remain in place against the North until its complete denuclearization.
Dismantling Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program and verifying it would be a large and complex task. The IAEA has said previously it stands ready to help verify any future agreements between the US and North Korea over Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program.
North Korea earlier said its nuclear arsenal was a deterrent against potential US aggression. Pyongyang says it will not give up on its nuclear deterrence unless Washington ends its hostile policy toward the country and dissolves the US-led UN command in South Korea.
Thousands of US soldiers are stationed in South Korea and Japan.
Source: Press TV