Pritchard Elaborates on N.Korean Reactor Claim

      November 18, 2010 08:57

      Jack Pritchard, the president of the Korea Economic Institute in Washington, on Tuesday repeated North Korea's claim that it is building a light-water reactor under its own steam. Pritchard was talking to reporters about a five-day visit to the North that just ended.

      Quoting a North Korean official he met at the Yongbyon nuclear complex, he said the North claims to be building a 100 MW light-water nuclear reactor there. An earlier international pledge to build a light-water reactor for the North in return for nuclear disarmament was finally scrapped in 2006.

      Pritchard looked around the Yongbyon nuclear complex escorted by North Korean officials, who claimed the North is building the reactor near where the complex's now-demolished cooling tower stood. Early-stage construction appeared to be underway, with workers pouring concrete and putting rebar in concrete, he added. He said it appeared that the structure was about 20 m wide and more than 18 m high.

      He quoted the official in charge as saying that "all" construction projects in the North will be complete by 2012, the centenary of regime founder Kim Il-sung's birth.

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