North Korea's Nuclear Facility Concernes U.N. Nuclear Chief


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The Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency says he's concerned over newly found nuclear facilities in North Korea. The communist state revealed its uranium enrichment program last month, with thousands of centrifuges operating in the country.

On Friday, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency expressed concern over newly reported North Korean nuclear facilities.

[Yukiya Amano, Director General, IAEA]:
"I learned with great concern of a recent report about a uranium enrichment facility as well as the construction of a light-water reactor in the DPRK. I believe that the IAEA has an essential role to play in verifying DPRK's nuclear programs."

For the first time, North Korea detailed its expanded nuclear program on November 30th, saying it has thousands of centrifuges. Centrifuges are devices that spin at supersonic speeds to refine uranium into fuel for nuclear power plants and if refined to a much higher degree, for atomic bombs.

Pyongyang's revelations about its uranium enrichment came a week after it fired a barrage of artillery shells at a South Korean island.

The U.N. nuclear chief says it's too early to judge the purpose of the facilities.

[Yukiya Amano, Director General, IAEA]:
"It is quite premature to say something about the nature of this facility. In order to have better knowledge, we need to be there, we need inspect, and we need to understand."

Details about North Korea's uranium enrichment activities surfaced in a report by a U.S. nuclear scientist who had been invited to the country. The scientist says he had seen hundreds of centrifuges and was told there were more operating.

North Korea, which left the global anti-nuclear arms pact in 2003 and expelled IAEA inspectors, conducted a nuclear test in 2009.