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Korea may have restarted N-reactor: IAEA

GS Paper 2:

Topic covered: Important international institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.


Context: The UN atomic agency has observed that North Korea might have resumed its plutonium-producing reprocessing reactor

More on this news:

  • This observation is based on the resumption of work on the 5-megawatt reactor in Yongbyon — North Korea’s main nuclear complex
  • North Korean leader had offered to dismantle part of the Yongbyon complex at a second summit with then U.S. President Donald Trump in exchange of removal of sanctions; however, the talks have been at a standstill since then
  • North Korea is under multiple sets of international sanctions over its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes.
  • The possible operation of the reactor follows a recent indication that Pyongyang is also using a nearby radiochemical laboratory to separate plutonium from spent fuel previously removed from the reactor.
  • This situation underscores the need for resumption of dialogue between the stakeholders involved to ensure that the security situation in the Korean peninsula does not become worse

About International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

Set up as the world’s “Atoms for Peace” organization in 1957 within the United Nations family. It reports to both the United Nations General Assembly and Security Council. It is headquartered in Vienna, Austria.


  • Works with its Member States and multiple partners worldwide to promote the safe, secure and peaceful use of nuclear technologies.
  • Seeks to promote the peaceful use of nuclear energy, and to inhibit its use for any military purpose, including nuclear weapons.

Board of Governors:

22 member states (must represent a stipulated geographic diversity) — elected by the General Conference (11 members every year) – 2 year term

  • At least 10 member-states — nominated by the outgoing Board.
  • Board members each receive one vote.


  • Recommendations to the General Conference on IAEA activities and budget.
  • Responsible for publishing IAEA standards.
  • Responsible for making most of the policy of the IAEA.
  • Appoints the Director General subject to General Conference approval.


  1. Program of Action for Cancer Therapy (PACT).
  2. Human Health Program.
  3. Water Availability Enhancement Project.
  4. International Project on Innovative Nuclear Reactors and Fuel Cycles, 2000.


Insta-curious link

Do you know how India’s policies pertaining to North Korea has evolved? Reference


Prelims link

  1. Nuclear fission and fusion process
  2. Important geographical features in the Korean peninsula
  3. Conflict in Korean peninsula
  4. IAEA- objective, mandate and powers
  5. UNSC- objective, mandate and powers

Mains link

  1. Challenges posed by the North Korea’s nuclearization process to the region and to the global security architecture. India’s policies regarding this and measures to address this challenge