DPR of Korea informs IAEA of intent to lift 'freeze' on nuclear power plants

12 December 2002 – The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) today told the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that it planned to "lift the freeze" on its nuclear facilities to generate power, the Agency said Thursday.

In a letter to IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei, the Director General of the DPRK's General Department of Atomic Energy, Ri Je Son, requested that the Agency remove the seals and monitoring cameras on all of its nuclear facilities. The safeguards have been in place since the DPRK-USA Agreed Framework signed in 1994.

In response Mr. ElBaradei called on the DPRK to act "with restraint," and warned, "it is essential that the containment and surveillance measures which are currently in place continue to be maintained, and that the DPRK not take any steps unilaterally to remove or impede the functioning of such seals or cameras."

Mr. ElBaradei also asked the DPRK to agree to an urgent meeting of technical experts to discuss the practical arrangements involved in moving from the freeze to normal safeguards operations, and how the IAEA will fulfil its verification requirements under an agreement between Pyongyang and the Agency.

Pursuant to a UN Security Council request, and in accordance with the Agreed Framework, the IAEA has been monitoring the "freeze" at the DPRK's nuclear facilities at Nyongbyong since November 1994.

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