VARIOUS/FILE: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Mohamed ElBaradei confirms the shut-down of...
- Title: VARIOUS/FILE: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Mohamed ElBaradei confirms the shut-down of Pyongyang's nuclear reactor
- Date: 16th July 2007
- Summary: (W1) SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA (JULY 16, 2007) (REUTERS) U.S. CHIEF NUCLEAR ENVOY CHRISTOPHER HILL (LEFT) SHAKING HANDS WITH HIS SOUTH KOREAN COUNTERPART CHUN YUNG-WOO AT CHUN'S OFFICE CHUN AND U.S. DELEGATION CHUN AND HILL HILL
- Reuters ID: LVAANCNBKOSW3PYHR8OH2222SFTM
- Duration: 00:00:23
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- Topics: International Relations
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- Story Text: The head of the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA) Mohamed ElBaradei has confirmed North Korea has shut down its nuclear reactor.
A team of ten IAEA inspectors, who will now monitor the Yongbyon reactor, will be the first to operate in North Korea for four and a half years. It will take them about a month to set up the necessary equipment.
North Korea's official KCNA news agency said the country had closed its Soviet-era reactor on Saturday (July 14) as part of an agreed aid-for-disarmament deal. The first shipment of 50,000 tonnes of heavy oils arrived that day.
ElBaradei told the Science and Technology Congress in Bangkok on Monday (July 16):
"Yes, the reactor has been shut down. We verified the shut-down of the reactor. We are going through verifying the shut-down of the other facilities, and by tomorrow or after tomorrow we will be able to report hopefully that all the five facilities have been shut down,"
ElBaradei referred to North Korea by its official name saying he expected the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) to come up with an inventory of all its nuclear material and facilities, but said that would obviously take some time as it's "a complicated process".
There would then have to be more verifications and checks to ensure the country's nuclear weapon arsenal was dismantled, he said, describing the reactor shutdown as "a positive step" but cautioning there was "still a long way to go".
U.S. chief nuclear negotiator Christopher Hill met his South Korean counterpart Chun Yung-woo in Seoul on Monday and admitted he did not expect talks with North Korea to go smoothly.
At an earlier meeting with South Korean Unification Minister Lee Jae-joung, Hill said progress made so far could provide a good basis for future talks on denuclearisation.
The six-party talks are set to resume on Wednesday (July 18) in Beijing to map out the next phase of ending Pyongyang's nuclear programme.
In 2002, the United States accused North Korea of operating a covert uranium enrichment programme in violation of a 1994 nuclear-freeze deal. In December 2002, the North expelled IAEA inspectors and said it would restart its reactor. The secretive communist country conducted its first nuclear test in October 2006.
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- Embargoed:31st July 2007 13:00