North Korea nuclear warning: Danger after damage to Kim’s biggest nuclear reactor site

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This warning comes as Typhoon Bavi is set to hit South Korea, North Korea and Japan this week, which could bring torrential rain and strong winds. The Korean Peninsula has been affected by a prolonged rainy period recently with many floods and landslides.

The North Korean analysis website, 38 North, has reported damage to the pumps and piping is the biggest risk to the reactors.

The website, which monitors North Korea, has reported commercial satellite imagery from August 6 to 11 has shown how vulnerable nuclear reactor is to extreme weather events.

Yongbyon is the home to nuclear reactors, fuel reprocessing plants and uranium enrichment facilities which, some believe, are being used for the country’s nuclear weapons programme.

The report warned: “If the reactors were operating, for instance, the inability to cool them would require them to be shut down.”

The uranium mine could be overflown by water and there is a threat the radioactive waste could get into the environment and even the drinking water.

Olli Heinonen, the former Deputy Director-General for Safeguards at the International Atomic Energy Agency, said: “So, when you have these big ponds where the wastewater goes, we don’t know how well they are designed and how they deal when there is a huge rain—whether the rain just falls into these open ponds, or whether they overflow and then this radioactive waste gets to the environment, groundwater, and then eventually either to the river, or to the drinking water of the people.

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”If that takes place, then it has an impact.”

He said there was a risk to the two ponds if there is more heavy rain.

Mr Heinonen also warned the lack of good building infrastructure in the hermit state could be problematic.

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He said: “There is one thing that people also need to remember.

“The construction of the buildings, in North Korea, their standards are not that advanced as you and I have become used to.

“For example when it rains a lot, in some facilities, water can get to the cellar because of the poor isolation in the basement.

“So that’s another thing that is probably taking place in some of the facilities. We’re just not seeing it because satellite imagery will not show it.”

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