The Korean Peninsula has been witnessing the most unusually heavy monsoon in the recent history which has caused the floods and landslides. Serious damage to property and deaths have been reported across North Korea and South Korea. Recent satellite images show that the flooding in North Korea has reached the bases of two pump houses that connect to the main nuclear reactor of the country last week.
According to the US-based think tank and analyst at 38 North (a website that monitors North Korea), the images obtained between 6th and 11th August via satellite show how vulnerable are the pump houses that have been designed to cool the country’s main nuclear reactor in Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center.
Built on Kuryong River’s bank, Yongbyon is also home to uranium enrichment facilities and fuel reprocessing plants both of which are – as per the general thought – being used in North Korea’s nuclear weapon program.
The 38 North in its report said: “damage to the pumps and piping within the pump houses presents the biggest vulnerability to the reactors”. The report further added that “if the reactors were operating, for instance, the inability to cool them would require them to be shut down”.
However, the water hasn’t reached the Yongbyon Centre though the downstream did experience further flooding. As of now, 38 North states that the water level seems to have lowered by the 11th of August.
North Korea’s media hasn’t reported any damage to the Research Centre as yet though flood-stricken areas are being given aid and guidance by local authorities. Further, Jenny Town the deputy director of 38 North explained that the floods do not pose an “imminent danger” since the reactor hasn’t been operational for some time now and the experimental light water reactor nearby hasn’t still come online.
The heavy flooding has have taken the lives of 22 in North Korea and 42 in South Korea. Many stand missing and displaced and warning of heavy rains have been issues in some areas. However, in the North Kim has stated that he doesn’t wish for outside help considering the coronavirus pandemic. This disaster adds up to the adverse affects the economy of Twas facing due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
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