The Institute for Science and International Security released a report on Wednesday finding that the area of the Yongbyon reactor complex responsible for enriching uranium is now twice as large as it was in the past.
According to the New York Times, the report by the Washington-based, nonproliferation-monitoring group triggers new worries that North Korea is expanding its capacity to produce weapons-grade fuel.
The analysis was based on a comparison of satellite images of the complex taken in March — before construction began on the expansion — and on a June image that shows the framework of the addition, which is roughly the same size as the initial centrifuge facility.
Additional proliferation experts agreed with the ISIS analysis that the uranium-enrichment portion of the site appears to have doubled in size, the Times reported.
The expanded facility could produce anywhere from 16 to 68 kilograms of weapons-grade uranium, enough to manufacture two nuclear weapons per year, the ISIS report states.
North Korea asserts that the centrifuge facility produces low-enriched uranium for an onsite experimental light water reactor at the complex. However, it is unclear how extensive the North’s enrichment capacity has become and whether the isolated nation has produced weapon-grade uranium — and, if so, how much, according to the analytical organization.
North Korea has faced sanctions from the United Nations aimed at preventing the North from acquiring specialty metals and centrifuge components from overseas. Pyongyang might have been able to develop ways of producing these materials domestically, according to the newspaper.
The news comes less than two weeks after North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un told the Chinese vice president that he was open to restarting denuclearization discussions, and just a day after the North proposed another round of talks with South Korea with the intent of reopening a shuttered factory complex operated jointly by the two nations.
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Despite trailing Hillary Clinton by a significant margin, Bernie Sanders wasn't going the way of Ted Cruz tonight. The Vermont senator upset Clinton in Indiana, with MSNBC calling the race at 9pm. Sanders appears poised to win by a five- or six-point spread.
And just like that, it's over. Ted Cruz will suspend his presidential campaign after losing badly to Donald Trump in Indiana tonight. "While Cruz had always hedged when asked whether he would quit if he lost Indiana; his campaign had laid a huge bet on the state." John Kasich's campaign has pledged to carry on. “From the beginning, I’ve said that I would continue on as long as there was a viable path to victory,” said Cruz. “Tonight, I’m sorry to say it appears that path has been foreclosed."
The Republican establishment's last remaining hope—a contested convention this summer—may have just ended in Indiana, as Donald Trump won a decisive victory over Ted Cruz. Nothing Cruz seemed to have in his corner seemed to help—not a presumptive VP pick in Carly Fiorina, not a midwestern state where he's done well in the past, and not the state's legions of conservatives. Though Trump "won't secure the 1,237 delegates he needs to formally claim the nomination until June, his Indiana triumph makes it almost impossible to stop him. Following his decisive wins in New York and other East Coast states, the Indiana victory could put Trump within 200 delegates of the magic number he needs to clinch the nomination." Cruz, meanwhile, "now faces the agonizing choice of whether to remain in the race, with his attempt to force the party into a contested convention in tatters, or to bow out and cede the party nomination to his political nemesis." The Associated Press, which called the race at 7pm, predicts Trump will win at least 45 delegates.