November 01, 2007

Inspectors in North Korea

A team of US atomic inspectors arrived in North Korea on Thursday after expressing confidence that the historic disablement of the isolated nation's nuclear facilities would go smoothly.

North Korea has pledged to begin taking apart its nuclear facilities, going further than it ever has before in meeting foreign pressure to scrap atomic capabilities it has been building up since the 1950s.

The nine-member US team arrived in the North Korean capital Pyongyang on a flight from Beijing, China's state-run Xinhua news agency said.

They are destined for the main Yongbyon atomic reactor where they will supervise disablement work expected to begin next week. [via Yahoo! News]

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July 31, 2007

IAEA Inspectors Visit Arak Reactor

International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors visited Iran's incomplete Arak nuclear reactor yesterday for the first time since Tehran barred the U.N. nuclear from the site in April, the Associated Press reported.

"The team visited the 40-megawatt research reactor in Arak," said an unnamed Iranian official, according to AP. "The inspection took some five hours." (Nasser Karimi, Associated Press/Washington Post, July 30)

An IAEA official in Vienna confirmed the visit, adding that inspectors had full access to the site, Reuters reported.

The official declined to elaborate, saying that details of the visit would be reported to a September meeting of the agency’s 35-nation governing board.

Arak, if completed, could be used to produce weapon-grade plutonium, one possible ingredient in nuclear weapons (Reuters/New York Times, July 30).

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July 09, 2007

IAEA and North Korea - Inspection Plan

The United Nations nuclear agency is set to approve an inspections plan for North Korea, a key step in turning the Korean Peninsula into an atomic weapons-free zone.

The International Atomic Energy Agency's 35-member board of governors convened an extraordinary meeting today in Vienna. The diplomats will approve the agency's budget and details of the inspection team's mission in North Korea.

"Following the board's approval, we hope that IAEA inspectors will be able to return quickly to North Korea," U.S. Ambassador to the IAEA Gregory Schulte said today in a briefing. "The shutdown of the facilities at Yongbyon, together with IAEA monitoring and verification, will be an important step toward achieving the common goal of a Korean Peninsula free of nuclear weapons." [via IAEA and Bloomberg.com]

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May 11, 2007

Iran Turns Away IAEA Inspectors

Iran turned away international nuclear officials last month when they tried to conduct a surprise inspection of Iranian uranium enrichment centrifuges, Agence France-Presse reported today.

The International Atomic Energy Agency personnel were denied access April 21 to a room containing the centrifuges despite an earlier Iranian promise to cooperate with unannounced visits, diplomats said. [via Nuclear Threat Initiative]

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