IAEA team to visit N Korea reactor

The inspection by an IAEA team on Saturday will be the first in five years.

    The Yongbyon reactor is the source of North Korea's weapons-grade plutonium [Reuters]
    North Korea said last week it would consider suspending operation of its nuclear facilities once it received the first shipment of oil from South Korea under a February 13 aid-for-disarmament deal. 
     
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    Tolba confirmed the technical team would go to Yongbyon plant on Saturday.
     
    The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team will inspect the reactor and is expected to later supervise its shutdown, promised as part of a nuclear disarmament pact reached in February.
     
    The Soviet-era Yongbyon reactor, which produces raw material for bomb-making plutonium, is at the heart of the North's nuclear programme which culminated in its first atomic weapons test last October.
     
    The inspection by an IAEA team will be the first in five years.
     
    Fuel oil delivered
     
    A South Korean tanker carrying fuel oil arrived in the North Korean port of Sonbong early on Saturday, officials said.

    The "9 Hanchang" tanker was carrying the first 6,200 tonnes of the 50,000 tonnes of fuel oil North Korea is due to receive under the disarmament deal.
     
    The impending inspection and the arrival of the oil shipment have raised hopes that the reactor will soon be shut down.
     
    The two Koreas, the US, China, Russia and Japan will resume talks on Wednesday next week to discuss steps towards full denuclearisation after Yongbyon is shut down.
     
    The Yongbyon reactor is the source of North Korea's weapons-grade plutonium.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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