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UN Nuclear Agency, IAEA finds evidence of North Korea Reactivating its ‘Plutonium’ Plant at Yongbyon

Exhaust plumes had been detected from the thermal plant at Yongbyon's main reprocessing installation on April, 2016

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Plutonium pellet. Image source: Wikipedia
  • North Korea has probably reopened a plant to reprocess ‘plutonium’
  • 38 North, a website reported in April 2016, exhaust plumes were detected from the thermal plant
  • North Korea conducted a Hydrogen bomb nuclear test in January 2016 

The United Nations nuclear watchdog, IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) says North Korea appears to have reopened a plant to reprocess plutonium, an indication the communist country is widening its arms effort.

The IAEA said on Monday, June 6, that satellite evidence showed North Korea has likely resumed activities at a plant at Yongbyon to produce plutonium from spent nuclear reactor fuel.

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The information matches evidence found by the U.S. monitoring website 38 North, which reported in April that exhaust plumes had been detected from the thermal plant at Yongbyon’s main reprocessing installation.

North Korea
A satellite image provided by GeoEye shows the area around the Yongbyon nuclear facility in Yongbyon, North Korea. Image source: voanews.com

IAEA head Yukiya Amano says because the agency does not have monitors in North Korea, it cannot be certain about the North’s activities.

“As we do not have inspectors on the ground we are only observing through satellite imagery.  We cannot say for sure.  But we have indications of certain activities through the satellite imagery,” Amano told a regular news conference in Vienna.

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This year in 2016, in February, the director of U.S. National Intelligence, James Clapper, told U.S. lawmakers that the Korean country could be weeks or months away from recovering plutonium from Yongbyon.

North Korea reportedly conducted a nuclear test in January, in 2016 and followed it with a long-range rocket launch next month, inviting tougher sanctions from the United Nations.

-prepared by Saurabh Bodas (with inputs from VOA), an intern at NewsGram. Twitter: @saurabhbodas96

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WHO Demands Strict Regulations on Vaping Products

WHO says there should be a ban on the promotion of electronic nicotine delivery systems to nonsmokers, pregnant women and youth

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WHO
The World Health Organization also known as WHO says it is disturbed that vaping devices continue to be marketed as products that are healthy and that can wean smokers off their nicotine addiction. Wikimedia Commons

The World Health Organization also called WHO is calling for stricter regulations on the marketing and sale of e-cigarettes as more information comes to light about the potentially harmful impact of these products.

Health officials are increasingly worried about the risks posed by e-cigarettes as reported cases of deaths and illnesses from these devices spread from the United States to Europe and beyond. They see the recent death of a young man in Belgium and reports of vaping-related illnesses in the Philippines and other countries in the world as a call to action.

The World Health Organization says it is disturbed that vaping devices continue to be marketed as products that are healthy and that can wean smokers off their nicotine addiction.  WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier tells VOA these industry health claims are unproven.

“While these electronic nicotine delivery systems may be less toxic than conventional cigarettes, this does not make them harmless,” he said.  “They produce aerosols from the vapor that contain toxicants that can result in a range of significant pathological changes.  These ends pose health risks for nonsmokers, to minors, to pregnant women — all of those who should not use such systems.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed at least 42 deaths in 24 states and the District of Columbia, and more than 2,100 illnesses related to vaping products.

WHO
The World Health Organization also called WHO is calling for stricter regulations on the marketing and sale of e-cigarettes as more information comes to light about the potentially harmful impact of these products. Pixabay

Vaping is an extremely profitable growth industry.  The number of people using vaping devices has increased from 7 million in 2011 to 41 million in 2018.  Profits have nearly tripled, from $6.9 billion five years ago to more than $19 billion today.  Getting the tobacco industry to refrain from the sale of electronic smoking devices will be extremely difficult.

The World Health Organization says long-term studies of health implications of electronic nicotine devices should begin.  In the meantime, the U.N. health agency is issuing recommendations that in some ways mirror those enacted to control tobacco use.

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WHO says there should be a ban on the promotion of electronic nicotine delivery systems to nonsmokers, pregnant women and youth; measures should be taken to minimize the potential risks to users and others from these devices, and the tobacco industry should be prohibited from using unproven health claims to market vaping products.  (VOA)