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Geumho-Jigu Light Water Reactor Site

Last Modified: June 14, 2012
Other Name: 금호지구경수로; Sinpo Light Water Reactor Site (신포경수로); Sinpo Nuclear Power Plant (신포원자력발전소); KEDO Light-Water Reactor Project; Kumho Light Water Reactor Site (금호경수로)
Location: Geumho-Jigu (금호지구), Sinpo (신포시), Hamgyeongnam-do (함경남도), North Korea
Subordinate To: General Department of Atomic Energy (원자력총국), Cabinet (내각)
Size: Two 1,000MWe light water power reactors
Facility Status: Unfinished, construction stopped

As part of the Agreed Framework of October 1994, in return for North Korea agreeing to freeze and ultimately dismantle its nuclear program, the United States agreed to build two 1,000MWe light water reactors (LWRs) of the Korean Standard Nuclear Power Plant model in North Korea by 2003. The Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) was established in March 1995 to oversee the project.[1]

In August 1997, KEDO signed a preliminary contract with Korean Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO) designating it as the main contractor. After a turnkey contract was signed in 1999 construction began at the Geumho-Jigu LWR project site. Excavation on the reactor buildings commenced in September 2001, and concrete for the first reactor bed was poured in August 2002.[2]

In November 2002, the United States confronted North Korea about suspected uranium enrichment activity, and in response, North Korea expelled International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors from the country. The KEDO Executive Board voted to suspend heavy fuel oil shipments – also part of the Agreed Framework – to North Korea. The following month, North Korea announced it was lifting the freeze on its nuclear facilities, and asked the IAEA to remove the seals, cameras, and all monitoring devices from its nuclear facilities.[3]

Not surprisingly, these political events impacted the ongoing LWR project. In January 2003, North Korea announced its withdrawal from the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), and subsequently, the Executive Board of KEDO announced the suspension of the LWR project for one year beginning 1 December 2003. In November 2004, the Board of KEDO decided to extend the suspension of the project for another year. Pullout of all workers from the work site began in January 2006, and in May 2006, with the project 34.5% completed, the Board officially decided to terminate the LWR project.[4]

In December 2006, KEDO ceded ownership of all the LWR equipment and parts to KEPCO. However, disposal of these materials, stored in South Korea, U.S., Japan, and France, is still ongoing.[5]

Sources:
[1] "About Us: Our History," KEDO, www.kedo.org.
[2] "Light Water Reactor Project: Turnkey Contract," KEDO, www.kedo.org.
[3] "핵시설들의 가동과 건설을 즉시 재개 [Immediate Resumption of Operation and Construction of Nuclear Facilities],” Yonhap News Agency, 12 December 2002, www.yonhap.co.jp; "IAEA Director General Calls for DPRK Restraint," WorldAtom Press Release, PR2002/21, 12December 2002, www.iaea.org.
[4] Yoon Jong-suk, "'공중분해'된 KEDO 경수로 기자재 [KEDO LWR Equipment Scattered]," Yonhap News Agency, 28 March 2011; "About Us: Our History," KEDO, www.kedo.org.
[5] Yoon Jong-suk, "'공중분해'된 KEDO 경수로 기자재 [KEDO LWR Equipment Scattered]," Yonhap News Agency, 28 March 2011.
 

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This material is produced independently for NTI by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of and has not been independently verified by NTI or its directors, officers, employees, or agents.

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