North Korea

Map of North Korea

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Developments in the nuclear sector

Currently North Korea operates no NPPs, but actually wants to maintain a civil nuclear power program.

Key dates in the development of nuclear weapons and nuclear power in Korea
  • MID-1980’S North Korea is thought to have begun secretly accumulating plutonium for use in weapons.
  • 1993 To the world’s surprise, North Korea says it will withdraw from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. It later suspends its withdrawal.
  • DEC. 1993 The Central Intelligence Agency tells President Clinton that North Korea probably has developed one or two nuclear bombs.
  • OCT. 1994 North Korea and the United States sign an agreement in Geneva in which the North pledges to freeze and eventually dismantle its nuclear weapons program, in exchange for help building two power-producing nuclear reactors.
  • SEPT. 1999 President Clinton agrees to the first major easing of economic sanctions against North Korea since the armistice that ended fighting in the Korean War in 1953.
  • JULY 2000 North Korea threatens to restart its nuclear program if Washington does not compensate it for delays in building the promised civilian nuclear power plants.
  • JULY 2001 The State Department reports that North Korea is developing a long-range missile.
  • DEC. 2002 North Korea starts to reopen a sealed plutonium reprocessing plant. (see article below)
  • JAN. 2003 North Korea says again that it will withdraw from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.
  • FEB. 2003 North Korea restarted a reactor at its primary nuclear complex, American intelligence officials announce. (see article below)
  • APRIL 2003 North Korea says it has nuclear weapons and may test, export or use them depending on the actions of the United States, American officials say.
  • AUG. 2003 Talks to seek a resolution of nuclear tensions in Korea convene in Beijing. China, Russia, Japan, the United States and the two Koreas take part. These six-nation talks convene again in February and June 2004.
  • FEB. 10, 2005 North Korea announces again that it has nuclear weapons.
  • SEPT. 19 2005 The six-nation talks conclude with an agreement in which North Korea pledges to dismantle its nuclear programs in exchange for energy assistance; the United States promises not to invade the North and to respect North’s sovereignty.
  • JAN. 3, 2006 North Korea says it will no longer take part in the six-nation talks unless the United States lifts the financial restrictions it imposed on North Korea over allegations of currency counterfeiting and other illegal activities.
  • OCT. 9 2006 North Korea says it has tested a nuclear weapon successfully. Neighboring nations react with alarm and condemnation.
2002, Dec: Start to reopen sealed plutonium reprocessing plant

North Korea started to reopen a sealed plutonium reprocessing plant on Dec. 23, the most provocative and technically important step it has taken in recent days to revive a nuclear program that experts said could produce weapons within months.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said North Korean officials had disabled surveillance cameras and broken through seals barring entry to a building housing the equipment needed to turn spent fuel rods from a nearby reactor into weapons-grade material.

February 2003

Dec. 23 — North Korea started to reopen a sealed plutonium reprocessing plant today, the most provocative and technically important step it has taken in recent days to revive a nuclear program that experts said could produce weapons within months.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said North Korean officials had disabled surveillance cameras and broken through seals barring entry to a building housing the equipment needed to turn spent fuel rods from a nearby reactor into weapons-grade material.

2005, Sept: Korea demands the right to maintain nuclear power program

BEIJING, Sept. 13 - Talks over how to end North Korea's nuclear weapons program resumed in Beijing today, but the United States and North Korea showed few signs of settling a dispute over peaceful uses of nuclear power that broke up previous negotiations.

Repeating the same demands that led to the collapse of talks five weeks ago, North Korea insisted today that it had the right to maintain a peaceful nuclear power program and that the United States must acknowledge that right before it would agree to stop making atomic bombs.

(Source of all articles: http://www.nytimes.com)

Sites With Nuclear Facilities

siteplantreactor typconstruction startoperation startshut down
PyongsanPyongsanLLW storage site
TaeachonTaeachonPWR
YongbyonNyongbyongPWR