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Taechon
N3955' E12529'

North Korea has several nuclear facilities that, collectively, have the potential to produce nuclear fuel for weapons. The major installations include a 200-MW(e) reactor under construction at Taechon. North Korea has developed raphite-moderated, gas-cooled reactors based on the British Calder Hall reactors. This 200-megawatt (electric) reactor would have produced enough plutonium for North Korea to build an additional 25-40 nuclear weapons per year.

Under the terms of the 21 October 1994 Agreed Framework, North Korea will be provided with alternative energy in the form of heavy oil for heating and electricity production. These heavy oil supplies are to compensate for the loss of electricity production by the 5-MW generator at the Yongbyon nuclear complex and for abandoning construction of the 50-MW nuclear reactor at Yongbyon and the 200-MW nuclear reactor at Taechon. Under the terms of the Agreed Framework, all of these facilities eventually will be dismantled.

North Korea's 200-MW(e) reactor was expected to be completed in 1996. Because of this schedule, much of the reactor's equipment and components, including the reactor's graphite blocks and fuel-handling machines, should have been available for inclusion in the reactor's building. Instead, North Korea informed IAEA that it had manufactured none of the graphite blocks needed for this facility. According to IAEA, North Korea explained that there was no reason for it to continue manufacturing equipment and components for the reactor after July 1993, since it had begun discussions with the United States about replacing the graphite-moderated reactors with light-water reactors. However, North Korea's explanation was insufficient for IAEA to rule out whether any additional nuclear equipment and components exist.

IAEA monitors activities at this unfinished reactor. As with the other nuclear facilities under the freeze, IAEA established an initial photographic baseline to document the status the facility's construction. Since then, IAEA inspectors have visited the 200-MW(e) graphite-moderated nuclear reactor in Taechon a few times a year. During their visits, the inspectors observe the facilities, take updated pictures, and compare the photos to ensure that construction has not resumed at the facilities.

In late 1998 South Korean news reports claimed that there are nuclear facilities under the artificial island in the T'aech'on reservoir. On 23 October 1998 opposition lawmaker Rep. Kim Deog-ryong of the opposition Grand National Party [GNP] claimed that "Large-scale projects to build nuclear facilities are under way in Kumchang and Taechon, north of Yongbyon." The North, he said, is producing plutonium in an underground facility on an island in a man-made lake located behind three installations in Taechon.

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