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DPRK Interferes with IAEA Safeguards Equipment


The Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei expressed "deep regret" at the DPRK's actions of December 21 to cut most of the seals and impede the functioning of surveillance equipment installed at the 5MW(e) reactor at Nyongbyong. On 12 December 2002, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) informed the IAEA that it would restart its nuclear facilities at Nyonbyong - the operations of which had been stopped as part of the USA-DPRK Agreed Framework of 1994. These actions were taken by the DPRK in spite of repeated IAEA appeals that they take no unilateral action to implement lifting of 'freeze' until the IAEA had the necessary safeguards measures in place to ensure the continuity of safeguards.

In a letter to Mr. Ri Je Son, Director General of the DPRK's General Department of Atomic Energy, Dr. ElBaradei requested the DPRK not to take any further unilateral actions. He said that the DPRK's actions "prevented an orderly transition from IAEA monitoring of the freeze of the reactor to a situation where we would be monitoring the facility during its operation. I have requested that the DPRK authorities allow immediately our inspectors to apply the necessary containment and surveillance measures and, in particular, that the DPRK not operate the reactor before the necessary safeguards measures are in place".

The Director General called on the DPRK for restraint, and to respect fully their obligations not to operate any nuclear facility in the DPRK without the required safeguards measures in place. A legally binding Safeguards Agreement between the DPRK and the IAEA, pursuant to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, has been in place since 1992.

The IAEA continues to maintain a permanent inspector presence in the DPRK and is monitoring the situation very closely.

Last update: 16 Feb 2018

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