North Korea Shuts Down Its Nuclear Reactor

U.S. National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley said it seems the North Korean have indeed close down their major plutonium reprocessing facility at Yongbyon, about 100 km north of Pyongyang. International inspectors have arrived in North Korea.  

Hadley said, “The inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency are on the scene with their equipment,” “They will go to the facility and they will be able to confirm that in the next few days, but it appears that the facility is shut down.”

Nuclear Reactor’s Closing down was a part of February 13 deal agreed to by the six nations involved in talks on the North Korean nuclear crisis. The countries include the United States, Russia, China, North Korea, South Korea, and Japan. They are again to meet on Wednesday in Beijing.

Adel Tolba, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) inspection team, loads the equipment onto a truck arrival in North Korea. International inspectors are supervising the nation’s nuclear disarmament and rebuilding the surveillance system that was demolished when they were expelled from the nation four years ago.

Hadley said shutdown of the Yongbyon reactor a good first step. Washington is still concerned about a different North Korean program to enrich uranium that can also be used for nuclear weapons, he warned.

He said, “It means they (North Korea) will no longer be able to reprocess to produce the nuclear weapons of those nuclear weapons that are made out of plutonium,”

“We have concerns that they may have a covert enrichment program.”

The Bush administration says North Korea also has a nuclear program that relies on highly-enriched uranium. Pyongyang only publicly acknowledges its plutonium program.

Hadley said that six-party agreement requires North Korea to provide a complete accounting of all its nuclear weapons, nuclear processing plants, and stored nuclear material it has collected.