Magazine article Arms Control Today

KEDO Reactor Project Moves through Protocols toward Implementation

Magazine article Arms Control Today

KEDO Reactor Project Moves through Protocols toward Implementation

Article excerpt

FOLLOWING AN April 9-15 trip to North Korea by an "expert-level" delegation, the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) intends to begin site-preparation work for the lightwater reactor (LWR) project at the Sinpo site in North Korea by late spring or early summer 1997.

KEDO is the international consortium formed to implement key elements of the 1994 U.S.-North Korean agreed framework, under which Pyongyang has frozen its nuclear program in exchange for the construction of two LWRs and shipments of heavy fuel oil. North Korea has been receiving annual shipments of 500,000 tons of heavy fuel oil while their nuclear complex in Yongbyon remains shut down under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) monitoring. To date, more than 75 percent of the spent fuel from North Korea's plutonium-producing, 5-megawatt (electric) gas-graphite reactor has been packaged, or "canned," for shipment out of North Korea, as required by the agreed framework.

The expert-level delegation, which included 54 representatives from the KEDO secretariat and the governments of the United States, Japan and South Korea, held talks with North Korea in Majon and in Sinpo. The talks focused on detailed implementation of the five pre-construction protocols that have been negotiated between KEDO and Pyongyang since completion of the December 1995 supply agreement.

The supply agreement established the scope and terms for KEDO to provide North Korea with the two LWRs, but required negotiation of five additional protocols before KEDO could start work in North Korea. The protocols concern the legal status of KEDO personnel, communications, transportation, control of the project site and contracting within North Korea. …

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