N. Korea Restarts Nuke Program

Pyongyang tells IAEA to remove seals from processing plant
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 24, 2008 6:40 AM CDT
N. Korea Restarts Nuke Program
Thousands of North Koreans turn colored cards to form the symbol for the atom as gymnasts perform on the field below during a "mass games" performance at a stadium in Pyongyang, North Korea.   (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

(Newser) – North Korea plans to reactivate its nuclear program and will start reinserting plutonium-producing nuclear material within a week, reports the AP. Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, said that his inspectors removed all agency seals and surveillance equipment from the country's main nuclear facility. He added that "from here on, the IAEA inspectors will have no further access to the reprocessing plant."

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The agency had been monitoring the nuclear plant at Yongbyon, which was shut down and then sealed as part of a North Korean pledge to disable its nuclear program after six-party talks. The restart makes good on earlier threats, but it could be strategic as well: Restarting the plant will take a year, during which the North could wrest further concessions from the US and other nations seeking to strip it of its atomic program. (Read more North Korea stories.)

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