IRT-2000 Nuclear Research Reactor

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Last Updated: September 30, 2011
Other Name: IRT-2000연구용원자로; IRT-DPRK, KP-0001; Reactor No. 1 (제1원자로); Modified IRT-2000; IRT-DPRK Reactor; Research Reactor No. 1 (제1실험용원자로); Yongbyon No.1 Light Water Reactor (영변1호 경수로)
Location: Bungang-jigu (분강지구), Yongbyon-gun (영변군), Pyeonganbuk-do (평안북도), North Korea
Subordinate To: Nuclear Physics Research Institute (핵물리연구소), Yongbyon Nuclear Research Center (영변원자력연구센터), General Department of Atomic Energy (원자력총국), Cabinet (내각)
Size: 8MWth
Facility Status: Operational [1]

The IRT-2000 Nuclear Research Reactor is a pool-type reactor that uses light water as a moderator and coolant. Subsequent to the signing of an agreement between North Korea and Soviet Union on cooperation in the field of atomic energy in 1959, [2] construction of the reactor began in 1963 and was completed in 1965 under the supervision of Soviet nuclear scientist Vladislav Kotlav. [3] Originally rated at 2MWth, the reactor was expanded to 4MWth in 1974, and then to 8MWth the late 1980’s. [4] The reactor initially used 10 percent enriched uranium fuel, but it was gradually upgraded to highly enriched uranium as the reactor was upgraded. [5] Until 1973, its fuel rods were supplied by the Soviet Union. The reactor was first placed under International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards in 1977. [6]

In 1992, a comprehensive safeguards agreement was ratified, and at that time, North Korean officials admitted to IAEA inspectors that technicians separated about 300mg of plutonium in 1975 from IRT-2000. [7] Since 1992, this reactor has operated only intermittently due to North Korea’s inability to obtain new fuel. [8] The IRT-2000 reactor was not frozen by the Agreed Framework.

Sources:
[1] "Nuclear Research Reactors in the World," IAEA, www.iaea.org.
[2] Gregory Karouv, "A Technical History of Soviet-North Korean Nuclear Relations," in James Clay Moltz and Alexandre Y. Mansourov, eds., The North Korean Nuclear Program: Security, Strategy, and New Perspectives from Russia (New York: Routledge, 2000), p. 15.
[3] Bermudez, Jr., Joseph S., "Exposing North Korea's secret nuclear infrastructure - PART TWO," Jane's Intelligence Review, Vol. 11, Is. 8, 1 August 1999.
[4] David Albright and Kevin O'Neill, eds., Solving the North Korean Nuclear Puzzle (Washington, D.C.: Institute for Science and International Security, 2000), p.120.
[5] Siegfried S. Hecker, "Denuclearizing North Korea," Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Vol. 64, No. 2, May/June 2008, pp. 44-49, 61-62.
[6] Bermudez, Jr., Joseph S., "Exposing North Korea's secret nuclear infrastructure - PART TWO," Jane's Intelligence Review, Vol. 11, Is. 8, 1 August 1999.
[7] David Albright and Kevin O'Neill, eds., Solving the North Korean Nuclear Puzzle (Washington, D.C.: Institute for Science and International Security, 2000), p. 122.
[8] Siegfried S. Hecker, "Denuclearizing North Korea," Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Vol. 64, No. 2, May/June 2008, pp. 44-49, 61-62.

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