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article imageNorth Korea Says Yongbyon Nuclear Reactor Shut Down

By Bob Ewing     Jul 14, 2007 in World
The first of the promised oil shipments have arrived in North Korea and the North Korean government has said it has shut down a nuclear reactor. North Korea will receive will receive 907,000 tonnes of oil if they continue to shut down reactors.
The promised oil has arrived and North Korea says it has shut down the Yongbyon reactor. An UN inspection team is on the way to the site to verify North Korea’s statement. IF the reactor is indeed shut down then this will be send as North Korea the North's first step in nearly five years toward de-nuclearization
"We welcome this development and look forward to the verification and monitoring of this shutdown by the International Atomic Energy Agency team," State Department spokesman Sean McCormack.
The process that has lead up to this event has been long and painful. North Korea took the position that it needed the nuclear program for self-defense purposes. Then progress was made as the world’s most reclusive regime aid that if it the oil that it needs it would consider stopping the reactor.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has sent a ten member team to the North Korean capital to verify the statement. The team is led by Adel Tolba and will stay in North Korea until their work is complete.
The team is bringing considerable equipment to test the claim and to date all the information, besides the statement, is some footage of dozens of cardboard boxes being loaded onto the back of two trucks. It is not known what those boxes contain.
There was no time table provided for the shut down, U.S. officials were anticipating that it would happen soon.
"I think it's a matter of today, tomorrow, maybe Monday U.S. nuclear envoy Christopher Hill.
It is expected that North Korea will provide a list of all its nuclear facilities which was agreed to by North Korea last February. According to Hill, the list will be available within several weeks, possibly months.
North Korea did not give a timetable for the shutdown, but top U.S. nuclear envoy Christopher Hill said earlier it would happen within days.When the IEA team is finished at the reactor, several members will remain on site to make sure that the reactor remains closed.
A total of 45,000 of heavy fuel oil have been promised to North Korea, for shutting down this reactor, and the shipment that arrived today was the first 5,600 of that total.
In total, Pyongyang will receive 907,000 tonnes (one million tons) of oil. The oil is in addition to other financial and political concessions that were agreed to in a deal that includes the United States, China, Japan, South Korea and Russia.
The oil for nuclear shut down agreement was negotiated to end a five year stand off that began in October 2002. The United States said that North Korean officials had admitted having a secret uranium enrichment program. According to the U.S, this was a violation of a 1994 agreement for the North's disarmament. In retaliation for this violation the U.S. later halted oil shipments under that deal.
In response North Korea kicked the IAEA monitors out and withdraw from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and restarted the reactor. The reactor has been shut down before to remove furl rods and extract plutonium. It is likely that North Korea has harvested sufficient material for at least a dozen bombs.
In October, North Korea set off an underground nuclear test explosion in October. This intensified international efforts to negotiate an end to its arms program.
More about Yongbyon nuclear reactor, North korea, Shut down
 
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