A team of experts from the United States has arrived in North Korea to oversee the process of disabling North Korea's nuclear reactor used for plutonium production. The process should begin by the end of the week. They will also oversee the dismantling of North Korea's plutonium extraction facility.
The team of U.S. experts arrived in Pyongyang on Thursday to oversee disabling the secretive state's Soviet-era nuclear reactor, a plant that makes nuclear fuel and another that turns spent fuel into plutonium.
Christopher Hill, the top U.S. envoy to six-way talks to end Pyongyang's nuclear arms program, said the U.S. team had "a specific list of measures" and would arrive at the nuclear complex to begin the dismantling process on Friday or Saturday.
"The first actual physical acts of disablement will probably be at the end of the week," Hill told reporters. "We are satisfied that we have an overall plan that will be effective and that will provide the disablement that we need."
The moves follow a breakthrough February deal under which North Korea, which tested a nuclear device last year in defiance of international warnings, is to shut down its Yongbyon nuclear plant and admit U.N. nuclear monitors.
Hill met his North Korean counterpart, Kim Kye-gwan, on Wednesday to discuss steps to disable Yongbyon.
This is actually very good news. Under the agreement that was put in place by the Clinton administration, the facilities remained intact, allowing rapid restarting of the program. In fact US experts help stabilize the spent fuel storage. This sounds like a much more thorough job. I think this is a step in the right direction. Pyongyang is also going to surrender all reprocessed plutonium – the article does not say what is being done with spent fuel, however. I remain suspicious of North Korea, but still believe this is a good start.