The Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei, today said that the recent actions of the DPRK towards restarting its reprocessing facility at Nyongbyong raise serious non-proliferation concerns and are tantamount to "nuclear brinkmanship".
"The reprocessing facility at Nyongbyong is irrelevant to the DPRK ability to produce electricity. The DPRK has no current legitimate peaceful use for plutonium, given the status of its nuclear fuel cycle. Moving towards restarting its nuclear facilities without appropriate safeguards, and towards producing plutonium raises serious non-proliferation concerns and is tantamount to nuclear brinkmanship".
To date, the DPRK has cut seals and impeded surveillance equipment at a total of three facilities at Nyongbyong: the 5-MWe reactor and the associated fuel pond, the reprocessing facility and the fuel fabrication plant. DPRK technicians have also begun preparatory work to restart the reactor.
Dr. ElBaradei said that the IAEA is about to issue a report on recent developments in the DPRK to the IAEA Board of Governors, which is expected to meet in the first week of January to consider these developments. In his report, the IAEA Director General will state that recent unilateral actions by the DPRK have rendered the Agency at present unable to verify, pursuant to its safeguards agreement with the DPRK, that there has been no diversion of nuclear material to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. The Agency also remains unable since 1993 to verify that all nuclear material in the DPRK has been declared and submitted to Agency safeguards.