18 July 2007 A team of inspectors from the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency has confirmed that five nuclear facilities in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) have been shut down.
Experts from the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) arrived at the Yongbyon nuclear site on 14 July to verify its closure.
The agency team was told that the DPRK had shut down – that day – the Yongbyon Experimental Nuclear Power Plant No. 1, the Radiochemical Laboratory, the Yongbyon Nuclear Fuel Fabrication Plant, the Yongbyon Nuclear Power Plant No. 2 and the Nuclear Power Plant at Taechon.
After verifying the closure, IAEA experts applied the necessary seals and took other appropriate measures, and they will complete the installation of surveillance and monitoring equipment in the next few weeks.
“The IAEA’s verification activities are going smoothly with good cooperation from the DPRK,” said Agency Director General Mohamed ElBaradei. “This is an important step in the right direction but only the first in a long journey.”
Earlier this week, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the news and encouraged all parties to further efforts for the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
“This is just one step, but I think that it is a very important and encouraging step,” Mr. Ban said.
Eventually, the DPRK will “have to dismantle and destroy all nuclear weapons and related programmes in return for economic assistance as well as the security assurance and political horizons, diplomatic horizons,” he added.