N. Korea Reactor ‘Near Operation’

DigitalGlobe/ISIS, via Getty,DigitalGlobe/ScapeWare3d

YONGBYON NUCLEAR FACILITY, NORTH KOREA - AUGUST 31, 2013: ISIS analysis of DigitalGlobe Imagery from August 31, 2013 showing steam venting from building adjacent to 5MWe Yongbyon reactor. (Photo via Getty Images)

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire: a nuclear reactor in North Korea is showing new signs of activity and is “nearing operation,” says a report by U.S.-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University, which studies nuclear activity via satellite imagery. Steam has been rising from the Yongbyon nuclear facility, which was closed down in 2007 and reopened in April amid regional tensions. The report says the color and volume of the steam suggests that the reactor is close to going online. Analysts believe Yongbyon has already produced the plutonium in North Korea’s current nuclear weapons, which may number between four and 10.