North Korea Shuts Down Nuke Reactor

According to Reuters:

North Korea has told the United States it has shut down its Yongbyon nuclear facilities, the U.S. State Department said on Saturday.

"We welcome this development and look forward to the verification and monitoring of this shutdown by the International Atomic Energy Agency team that has arrived in North Korea,"
said spokesman Sean McCormack.

UPDATE:IAEA Confirms North Korea Has Shut Reactor

U.N. inspectors have verified that North Korea shut down its nuclear reactor, the watchdog agency's chief said Monday, the first on-the-ground achievement toward scaling back Pyongyang's nuclear ambitions since the international standoff began in late 2002.

The main U.S. envoy on the issue, meanwhile, said that the United States is looking to build on momentum and will start deliberations on removing North Korea from a list of terrorism-sponsoring states.

North Korea pledged in an international accord in February to shut the reactor at Yongbyon and dismantle its nuclear programs in return for 1 million tons of oil and political concessions. However, it stalled for several months because of a separate, but now-resolved dispute with the U.S. over frozen bank funds.

The shutdown over the weekend was confirmed by a 10-member team of IAEA inspectors, said Mohamed ElBaradei, chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

"The process has been going quite well and we have had good cooperation from North Korea. It's a good step in the right direction,"
ElBaradei said, speaking in Bangkok ahead of an event sponsored by Thailand's Science Ministry.

The Yongbyon reactor, about 60 miles north of the capital, generates plutonium for atomic bombs; North Korea conducted its first nuclear test explosion in October.

Talk Show America 7/16/2007

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