[Senate Prints 110-50]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]

110th Congress                                                  S. Prt.

 2d Session                 COMMITTEE PRINT                     110-50


                          A Report to Members

                                 OF THE


                          UNITED STATES SENATE

                       One Hundred Tenth Congress

                             Second Session

                              OCTOBER 2008


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                 COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS        

            JOSEPH R. BIDEN, Jr., Delaware, Chairman        
CHRISTOPHER J. DODD, Connecticut     RICHARD G. LUGAR, Indiana
JOHN F. KERRY, Massachusetts         CHUCK HAGEL, Nebraska
RUSSELL D. FEINGOLD, Wisconsin       NORM COLEMAN, Minnesota
BARBARA BOXER, California            BOB CORKER, Tennessee
BILL NELSON, Florida                 GEORGE V. VOINOVICH, Ohio
BARACK OBAMA, Illinois               LISA MURKOWSKI, Alaska
ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey          JIM DeMINT, South Carolina
BENJAMIN L. CARDIN, Maryland         JOHNNY ISAKSON, Georgia
ROBERT P. CASEY, Jr., Pennsylvania   DAVID VITTER, Louisiana
JIM WEBB, Virginia                   JOHN BARRASSO, Wyoming
               Antony J. Blinken, Staff Director        
        Kenneth A. Myers, Jr., Republican Staff Director        


                            C O N T E N T S

Letter of Transmittal............................................     v

Introduction.....................................................     1

    The Americans and Our Itinerary..............................     2

Background.......................................................     2

    The Five Parties Have ``Not Delivered''......................     3

    Three Points for Capitol Hill................................     3

    Visit to the Yongbyon Complex................................     4

    Japan Abductees..............................................     5

    Meeting With Swedish and Other Officials.....................     5

Concluding Remarks...............................................     5


Report of Visit to the Democratic People's Republic of North 
  Korea (DPRK), Pyongyang, and the Nuclear Center at Yongbyon, 
  February 12-16, 2008. Prof. Siegfried S. Hecker, Center for 
  International Security and Cooperation, Stanford University....     7


                         LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL


                                                  October 23, 2008.

    Dear Colleagues: In February of 2008, I directed my Senate 
Foreign Relations Committee staff member for East Asia, Keith 
Luse, to visit North Korea to determine the status of the 
disablement of North Korea's nuclear facility at Yongbyon.
    In addition to visiting the Yongbyon complex and meeting 
with officials of the General Department of Atomic Energy, Mr. 
Luse had an opportunity to interact with officials of the North 
Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He also met with Ambassador 
Mats Foyer, Swedish Ambassador to North Korea, and other 
European diplomats. Mr. Luse also visited the Pyongyang Foreign 
Language University.
    The resulting staff report and attachment from Dr. 
Siegfried Hecker of the Center for International Security and 
Cooperation at Stanford University, who accompanied Mr. Luse, 
contains significant detail about the disablement activities at 
Yongbyon, and provides other insights on the negotiations 
between North Korea and the United States.
    While many developments have occurred with North Korea 
since the February trip, this report contains information which 
will be timeless in its applications.

                                          Richard G. Lugar,
                                                    Ranking Member.





    The February 12 to 16, 2008 trip to North Korea was taken 
with the intent to answer and inform discussion on a number of 
pending questions, the following included.
    Why did the North Koreans not provide a complete and 
correct declaration of their nuclear program? What is the 
status of disablement at the Yongbyon nuclear complex? Is 
additional information needed for North Korea's consideration 
of the future redirection of workers at the Yongbyon complex?
    How secure is North Korea's nuclear arsenal? What 
safeguards are in place to protect against someone within the 
North Korean infrastructure with malicious intent, or for 
personal profit, from obtaining access to weapons or materials? 
Many North Korean workers at Yongbyon are displeased with their 
country's willingness to disable Yongbyon facilities. What 
quality control mechanisms are established throughout North 
Korea, so that authorities will know if plutonium, highly 
enriched uranium, or other materials related to nuclear 
research and technology are missing?
    While focus has largely been placed on North Korea's 
nuclear program, what is the status of other components of the 
overall weapons of mass destruction (WMD) arsenal? Does North 
Korea's effort to access outside molecular and biological 
research relate to that country's weapons program or other 
    In the United States we learned that some North Korean 
officials are concerned about a possible Chinese intervention 
impacting North Korea's Government. Under what circumstances 
might the Chinese take such action?
    Does North Korea's eventual declaration of their nuclear 
inventory necessarily suggest a willingness to disarm, and 
truly eliminate all nuclear weapons and fissile materials?
    In 2003, North Korean officials were of the mind that they 
were more likely to achieve a ``nuclear deal'' with a 
Democratic President? Does this continue as prevailing opinion 
among North Korean leaders?
    What constraints are placed on Chairman Kim Chong-il by the 
North Korean military? Under what conditions will this military 
machine which has been formed and programmed for decades to 
confront the United States, consent to complete nuclear 

The Americans and Our Itinerary

    Dr. Siegfried Hecker, Codirector, Center for International 
Security and Cooperation, Stanford University, Mr. Joel Wit, 
Visiting Fellow, United States-Korea Institute of the John 
Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and I 
concurrently travelled to the DPRK. While rare accommodation is 
made for United States aircraft landing in Pyongyang, or to 
travel by way of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), going to North 
Korea typically requires traveling through Beijing. Travelers 
go to the North Korean Embassy to obtain the necessary visa, 
and then on to the office of the North Korean airlines--Air 
Koryo, to purchase tickets for one of the bi-weekly flights to 
Pyongyang. As my request to travel by train from China to 
Pyongyang was denied, Air Koryo was again the option of 
    Our time in North Korea included three sessions with 
Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) officials, a day-long visit 
to the Yongbyon nuclear complex, meetings with English language 
students at the Pyongyang Foreign Language University, and a 
North Korean-prompted visit to the School of Music. Dr. Hecker 
scheduled separate meetings with North Korean education and 
health officials.
    A request to meet with North Korean military officials was 
again denied. Repeated and intense discussions occurred with 
MFA officials regarding the lack of a complete and correct 
declaration of North Korea's nuclear program by December 31 of 
last year. Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye Gwan was unavailable 
to meet.


    On October 3, 2007, President Bush affirmed the six-party 
agreement, of the same date, in Beijing, which ``reflects the 
common commitment of the participants in the six-party talks to 
realize a Korean Peninsula that is free of nuclear weapons.'' 
Under the agreement, North Korea ``agreed to disable all 
existing nuclear facilities subject to abandonment under the 
September 2005 Joint Statement and the February 13 agreement; 
agreed to provide a complete and correct declaration of all its 
nuclear programs by December 31, 2007, and reaffirmed its 
commitment not to transfer nuclear materials, technology, or 
    North Korea and the United States expressed their 
commitment to moving toward a full diplomatic relationship, and 
that bilateral exchanges would increase. Regarding removal of 
North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism and advancing ``the 
process of terminating the application of the Trading with the 
Enemy Act with respect to the DPRK, the United States will 
fulfill its commitments to the DPRK in parallel with the DPRK's 
actions based on consensus reached at the meetings of the 
Working Group on Normalization of DPRK-United States 
    Also, ``in accordance with the February 13 agreement, 
economic, energy, and humanitarian assistance up to the 
equivalent of one million tons of HFO (inclusive of the 100,000 
tons of HFO already delivered), will be provided to the DPRK. 
Specific modalities will be finalized through discussion by the 
Working Group on Economy and Energy Cooperation.''

The Five Parties Have ``Not Delivered''

    During our meetings in Pyongyang, MFA officials stated they 
had slowed the disabling process, and that a complete and 
correct declaration of their nuclear program had not been 
forthcoming, due to ``technical reasons.''
    The DPRK definition of ``technical reasons'' breaks down 
into a couple of categories:

          (1) DPRK officials insist that the other five parties 
        have not provided HFO or the agreed-upon ``HFO-
        equivalents'' according to schedule.

          (2) The United States has not proceeded with 
        ``political compensation,'' meaning removal of North 
        Korea from the list of state sponsors of terrorism and 
        terminating application of the Trading With the Enemy 
        Act to North Korea.

    On the latter issue, we affirmed to MFA representatives 
that Bush administration officials held consultations with 
Congress and were prepared to proceed with changes related to 
the list of state sponsors of terrorism, and the Trading With 
the Enemy Act. However, the absence of a complete and correct 
declaration by December 31 prevented U.S. officials from 
    Upon returning to Washington, the State Department's 
perspective was requested in response to DPRK claims that HFO 
and HFO-equivalent shipments had not arrived on schedule. 
According to the Department, ``the five parties have accepted 
in principle the DPRK's aim to receive monthly tranches of 
50,000 tons per month, on a rotational basis, and have made 
efforts to keep to that schedule.'' In reality, North Korean 
claims about tardiness in delivery are correct. However, what 
North Korean officials are not factoring, is that significant 
administrative and structural challenges faced the countries 
providing HFO and HFO-equivalent materials. The timeliness of 
delivery was and is consequently impacted. (Was the issue of 
how timeliness of delivery might be impacted by the 
``challenges,'' aired at the time of the original agreement?)

Three Points for Capitol Hill

    On the matter of North Korea missing the December 31, 2007 
deadline to submit a ``complete and correct declaration'' of 
its nuclear program, North Korean officials conveyed a similar 
theme, with an assortment of words and phrases during our three 
meetings. The Americans stressed that the eventual declaration 
should include comprehensive information related to the export 
of any component of North Korea's nuclear weapons program, as 
well. Following are some quotations from those meetings.

          ``We fulfilled our obligations under disablement 
        terms. The discharge of spent fuel rods is being 
        delayed for technical reasons. Your U.S. partners 

          ``The obligations by the five parties are 
        significantly delayed. The United States was to take 
        action for action political compensation. We don't know 
        what the United States has done and have no schedule of 
        what it will do.''

          ``One million tons of HFO was committed, with one-
        half to be delivered in-kind. Five hundred thousand 
        tons of HFO (in equivalent), should have been delivered 
        in equipment and materials. Only 200,000 tons of HFO 
        has been delivered so far. We are adjusting the speed 
        of disablement to the speed of the five parties.''

          ``We'll adjust the speed of settlement as much as the 
        United States moves forward. We don't know when the 
        other 300,000 tons of HFO will be delivered.''

          ``There will be no complete disablement until 
        political compensation occurs by the U.S. side. 
        Compensation actions by the five parties are very slow. 
        We hope the October 3 agreement will be fully 

          ``Syria has been declared per the October 3 agreement 
        (meaning there would be no transfer of nuclear 
        technology, etc.) The uranium enrichment program does 
        not exist. We have provided clarification on the tube 

          ``We've given plan information to the U.S. side. We 
        have declared all of our other facilities to the IAEA 
        in the 1990's . . . don't need to declare this time. We 
        have already declared Syria.''

    In response to encouragement from an American that North 
Korea should ``get as far down the road as possible,'' in 
negotiations with the Bush Administration, a North Korean 
official said, ``Negotiations are deadlocked, not due to a lack 
of will of both sides, but due to technical reasons. This will 
be resolved through more consultations.''
    When asked by an American to clarify, ``. . . in terms of 
export, what is a complete declaration?'' a North Korean 
official responded ``North Korea will declare all.''
    North Korean officials were informed that Members of the 
Senate Foreign Relations Committee were deeply concerned 
regarding the missed December deadline to submit a complete and 
clear declaration. Given Member concerns, the North Koreans 
were asked for a message to convey to the Committee. In 
response, they offered three points for conveyance to Capitol 

          (1) Both the United States and the DPRK negotiators 
        understood each other very well.

          (2) The delays (with the declaration), are caused by 
        technical reasons.

          (3) Both sides are working hard to resolve those 
        technical issues.

Visit to the Yongbyon Complex

    Dr. Hecker's summary of our visit to the Yongbyon nuclear 
complex is attached. In addition to visiting sites where 
disablement actions have occurred, we met with Dr. Ri Song Hop, 
former director of the Yongbyon complex, who retired from that 
position and now serves in the capacity of counselor to the 
General Department of Atomic Energy. During our time at the 
Yongbyon complex, North Korean officials commended the American 
technicians present during the disablement process. The North 
Koreans also consented to our taking photos.
    In response to a question from the Americans about the 
security conditions of North Korea's nuclear weapons and 
material arsenal, North Korean officials insisted that their 
weapons and materials are securely maintained, and that it 
would not be possible for access to be gained by someone with 
malicious intent or purpose of profit.

Japan Abductees

    North Korean officials refused to discuss matters related 
to abductees from Japan in North Korea.

Meeting With Swedish and Other Officials

    The Embassy of Sweden represents United States' interests 
in North Korea. Swedish Ambassador Mats Foyer scheduled a 
luncheon meeting at his residence with several diplomatic 
colleagues, including Roman Iwaszkiewicz, Ambassador of Poland; 
Dr. Thomas Schafer, Ambassador of Germany; Martin Tomco, 
Ambassador of the Czech Republic; John Everard, Ambassador of 
Britain; Ovidiu Liviu Iancu, Charge d'Affaires for Romania; 
Yordan Pamukov, Charge d'affaires, Bulgaria; and Ingrid 
Bergman, First Secretary, Sweden. Primary points of discussions 
focused on Dr. Hecker's impressions of the Yongbyon disabling 
process and possible application of a Nunn-Lugar cooperative 
threat reduction project in North Korea. The Americans inquired 
about the status of European Union discussions with North Korea 
on human rights issues.

                           CONCLUDING REMARKS

    Chairman Kim Chong-il may be the only person in North Korea 
who truly knows the basis for North Korea not submitting a 
complete and correct declaration of its nuclear weapons program 
by December 31, 2007. Endless speculation circulates regarding 
North Korean intentions for the short-term, as well as future 
prospects of eliminating the nuclear weapons program. There are 
other issues and questions regarding dismantlement and eventual 
elimination of North Korea's nuclear weapons inventory.
    Is the North Korean military resisting MFA efforts to 
substantively engage with the United States and the other five 
countries? Chairman Kim's best efforts to orchestrate a balance 
among competing interests within the North, may be a ``stretch 
too far'' for North Korean military hardliners. Declaring and 
discarding the jewel of their arsenal will be difficult for 
those viewing it as the ultimate deterrent.

                            A P P E N D I X


  Report of Visit to the Democratic People's Republic of North Korea 
(DPRK), Pyongyang, and the Nuclear Center at Yongbyon, February 12-16, 
2008. Prof. Siegfried S. Hecker, Center for International Security and 
                    Cooperation, Stanford University

    My visit was sponsored by the John D. and Catherine T. 
MacArthur Foundation and the Nuclear Threat Initiative. I was 
accompanied by W. Keith Luse, staff member for Senator Richard 
Lugar, and Joel S. Wit, former State Department official. This 
was my fifth visit to the DPRK, and the third to Yongbyon. 
Discussions in Pyongyang were held with officials from the 
Ministry of Foreign Affairs. At Yongbyon, we were hosted by 
officials from the Yongbyon Nuclear Research Center and 
officials from the General Department of Atomic Energy. This 
report is confined to the nuclear issues. I also met with 
officials from the Ministry of Public Health and the Ministry 
of Education to explore cooperation in those areas.

                           EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

    Our visit leads me to conclude that the DPRK leadership has 
made the decision to permanently shut down plutonium production 
if the United States and the other four parties live up to 
their October 3, 2007 commitments. However, they have retained 
a hedge to be able to restart the facilities if the agreement 
falls through. We verified that the disablement actions taken 
to date will effectively delay a potential restart of plutonium 
production. Cooperation between the United States and DPRK 
technical teams has been excellent, and until the recent 
slowdown, the two sides struck the proper balance between doing 
the job expeditiously and doing it safely. By their definition, 
the DPRK has completed 10 of 12 disablement actions. They have 
slowed down the last two to actions to allow the other parties 
to catch up.
    The current six-party process has put within reach a 
permanent shutdown of the Yongbyon plutonium production 
complex. To do so, highest priority must be placed on 
completing the disablement (discharging the reactor fuel and 
disabling or selling the existing fresh fuel rods) and 
proceeding to the dismantlement stage. If this is accomplished, 
then the DPRK will not be able to make more bombs and, without 
additional nuclear tests, it will not be able to make better 
    It is important to understand and to be prepared for the 
fact that the DPRK will have to restart the reprocessing 
facility some time in the next year or so to allow for the safe 
disposal of its high-level radioactive waste and the remaining 
low-level uranium waste. I also strongly urge reconsideration 
of the decision to ship the current load of spent fuel out of 
the DPRK. Technically, it is much more advisable to allow one 
more reprocessing campaign under IAEA supervision and ship out 
12 kg of plutonium rather than 50,000 kg of highly radioactive 
spent fuel that will have to be processed somewhere.
    If the DPRK decides to break out of the six-party agreement 
and restart operations, it will have only limited capacity for 
plutonium production. After a delay of 6 to 18 months, 
depending on how far disablement proceeds, they would be able 
to regain their prior production rate of six kilograms (or 
roughly one bomb's worth) of plutonium per year. The 50 and 200 
mW (electric) reactors do not appear salvageable and, hence, 
the DPRK will not be able to ramp up plutonium production over 
the next 5 to 10 years. If the process proceeds to 
dismantlement, then no plutonium production is likely for the 
same time frame.
    Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials stated that they will 
not proceed with a more complete declaration list until the 
other parties meet their October 3 commitments. They told us 
that they reported a total separated plutonium inventory of 30 
kilograms (sufficient for four to five bombs) to the United 
States in November 2007. In response to my comment that this is 
less than my estimate of 40 to 50 kg based on previous visits 
and, hence, this would require substantial cooperation on their 
part to verify the smaller number, MFA officials stated that 
they are prepared to do so. In response to my question about 
declaration of their weaponization facilities, they said they 
are also not prepared to do so until the other parties meet 
their commitments.
    MFA officials also stated that they view the uranium 
enrichment issue settled. They explained that the extraordinary 
access U.S. specialists were given to the aluminum tubes in 
question at a missile factory demonstrates that the DPRK has no 
such program. They dismissed allegations that they received 
centrifuges from Pakistan. They also denied nuclear cooperation 
with Syria and other countries. When pressed on this issue, 
they reiterated that they stand by their October 3 commitment 
not to transfer nuclear materials, technology or know-how to 
other countries.
    In my view, the most important risk-reduction actions now 
are to stop the production of more plutonium and to stop export 
of existing plutonium and nuclear technologies. The current 
situation puts us within reach of stopping plutonium production 
for the foreseeable future. The five parties should do 
everything in their power to get the DPRK to finish the 
disablement expeditiously and to move on to dismantlement. 
Whereas the United States should continue to press for a 
``complete and correct'' declaration, it is more important to 
stop additional production than it is to substantiate whether 
the current inventory is 30 kg or 50 kg and to find out to 
exactly what level they developed uranium enrichment. However, 
it is imperative that the DPRK leadership understands that any 
previous or future export of fissile materials (or of nuclear 
weapons) represents a red line and cannot be tolerated by the 
United States and the other parties.
    Although the DPRK has put nuclear worker reorientation on 
the back burner waiting for the next stage, we had substantial 
discussions about potential prospects. We learned much about 
the current status of the IRT-2000 research reactor, which 
could be reconfigured for research and medical applications.
Yongbyon Nuclear Complex: Shutdown and Disablement
    On July 15, 2007, the DPRK shut down and sealed the key 
nuclear facilities at Yongbyon and allowed IAEA inspectors back 
to monitor the shutdown. DPRK workers began to disable these 
facilities under U.S. technical supervision a few months later. 
The shutdown halts the production of additional bomb fuel 
(plutonium) and the disablement makes it more difficult to 
restart plutonium production should the DPRK decide to do so.
    On February 14, 2008, our delegation was given access to 
the Yongbyon nuclear facilities to independently verify the 
disablement actions. We found the level of cooperation between 
the DPRK nuclear specialists and the U.S. team that is 
supervising the disablement to be excellent. The United States 
has supplied a large amount of equipment, including protective 
clothing and radiation monitors, to allow the DPRK to disable 
the facilities expeditiously and safely. Until the recent 
slowdown, the two sides struck the proper balance between doing 
the job expeditiously and doing it safely. The discharge of the 
spent fuel was initially delayed because the cooling pool water 
level was low and the chemistry was not acceptable to allow 
safe storage of the magnesium alloy-clad spent fuel rods. 
Moreover, the water treatment facility was not operational. The 
initial speed of discharge also was a good compromise between 
political expediency and safety.
    The American presence and equipment supplied has also 
significantly changed the health and safety practices at the 
Yongbyon facilities. Unlike during prior visits to Yongbyon, we 
were required to wear protective clothing in all buildings. 
Improved health and safety practices were evident in all of 
    Yongbyon officials defined 12 disablement actions. These 
actions were taken at the three key nuclear facilities--the 
fuel fabrication facility, the 5 MWe reactor, and the 
reprocessing facility (radiochemical laboratory). DPRK 
officials took the unusual step of allowing us to take 
photographs of the disabled equipment. Photos of the disabled 
equipment can be found at: http://cisac.stanford.edu/news/
    The following constitute the 12 disablement actions as 
defined by Yongbyon officials: \1\
    \1\ The United States has apparently defined 11 disablement actions 
that are somewhat different from the DPRK list. The United States' list 
does not include No. 4 and combines No. 5 and No. 6. It also includes 
one additional action--the disablement of fresh, unclad fuel rods 
fabricated prior to 1994 and stored at the fuel fabrication facility. 
By U.S. count, 8 out of 11 actions have been completed as of February 
14, 2008.
Fuel Fabrication Facility

          (1) Removal and storage of all three uranium ore 
        concentrate dissolver tanks.

          (2) Removal and storage of all seven uranium 
        conversion furnaces, including storage of refractory 
        bricks and mortar sand.

          (3) Removal and storage of both metal casting 
        furnaces and vacuum system, and removal and storage of 
        eight machining lathes.

          (4) Storage of the remaining UO3 powder in bags with 
        monitoring by IAEA (this constitutes nearly five tons 
        of powder).
5 MWe Reactor
          (5) Cut and removal of portions of steel piping of 
        the secondary cooling loop outside the reactor 

          (6) Removal of the wood interior structure of the 
        cooling tower.

          (7) Discharge of 8000 spent fuel rods.

          (8) Removal and storage of the control rod drive 
Reprocessing Facility
          (9) Cut cable and removal of drive mechanism for 
        trolley that moves spent fuel caskets from the fuel 
        receiving building into the reprocessing facility.

          (10) Cut two of the four steam lines into the 
        reprocessing facility.

          (11) Removal of the crane and door actuators that 
        permit spent fuel rods to enter the reprocessing 
        facility (at level 1).

          (12) Removal of the drive mechanisms for the fuel 
        cladding shearing and slitting machines (at level 1).

    The operational definition of ``disablement'' is to make it 
more difficult, but not impossible, to restart the nuclear 
facilities. As of February 14, 10 of the 12 disablement actions 
identified by the DPRK had been completed. The discharge of the 
reactor fuel rods from the 5 MWe reactor (No. 7) was 
intentionally slowed down by the DPRK. The removal of the 
control rod drive mechanisms (No. 8) will be completed once all 
fuel rods are discharged.

    5 MWe Reactor. Several sections of pipe in the secondary 
cooling loop had been cut and were lying on the ground. The 
internal wooden structure of the cooling tower had been taken 
down and disposed of (some 240 cubic meters of wood). The chief 
engineer told us that it would take 1 year to rebuild this 
structure, although it most likely could be done much more 
rapidly, if necessary. The initial discharge of fuel began in 
mid-December 2007 at a rate of 80 fuel rods per day. At this 
rate it would have taken 100 days to finish the job. However, 
the DPRK has since slowed the rate to 30 per day to allow the 
other five parties to catch up with their commitments per the 
Oct. 3, 2007 second-phase actions agreement. On February 14, 
2008, we were told that 1,440 of the 8,000 fuel rods had been 
discharged. Hence, the reactor fuel discharge may not be 
complete until late September 2008.
    Should the DPRK choose to restart the reactor, they would 
have to rebuild the interior of the cooling tower or find 
alternative paths to release steam from the reactor. In 
addition, the more of the current fuel in the reactor is 
discharged, the longer it will take them to reload the reactor 
with new fuel. They have in storage less than a quarter of a 
reactor load of clad fuel rods. They also have in storage a 
full load of bare uranium fuel rods (our best estimate is 
12,000) for the 50 MWe reactor. It appears that these can be 
used for the 5 MWe reactor, but may require some machining, and 
would have to be clad with magnesium alloy cladding. These 
operations would require the reconstitution of parts of the 
fuel fabrication facility, including the machine shop. Such 
actions would most likely take close to 1 year.
    One of the most notable actions at the reactor is the 
installation of radiation monitors in the reactor building that 
remotely monitor the removal of the fuel rods. This instrument 
package contains gamma ray detectors and a neutron detector 
built at Los Alamos National Laboratory and installed by its 
technical specialists.

    Fuel Fabrication Facility. The front end of fuel 
fabrication (Building 1) had been operating making uranium 
dioxide (UO2) from uranium ore concentrate right up to the time 
the facility was shut down on July 15, 2007. The back end was 
operational with seven conversion furnaces, two casting 
furnaces, and eight machining lathes. However, the middle part, 
the fluorination facility, had deteriorated so badly during the 
freeze (1994 to 2003) that the building has been abandoned (as 
we were shown in August 2007). However, the DPRK had recently 
completed alternate fluorination equipment (using dry rather 
than wet techniques) in one of the ancillary buildings. 
However, this was a makeshift operation that has limited 
throughput potential. It was not put into full operation by the 
time of the shutdown on July 15.
    The disablement steps taken at the fuel fabrication 
facility focused on those buildings and equipment that were in 
reasonable working order. The removal of the three uranium 
dissolver tanks and the disassembly of the seven conversion 
furnaces (with thousands of refractory bricks) are serious 
disablement steps. The removal of the casting furnaces and the 
machining lathes also constitute significant steps. The DPRK 
has not been willing to take steps to render the fresh fuel in 
storage not usable for a reactor restart. These fuel rods could 
be bent, making it necessary to recast and remanufacture the 
rods to precise tolerances. Or, since the uranium metal content 
is substantial (close to 100 metric tons of natural uranium 
metal), the fresh fuel rods could be sold to one of the five 
parties, which could use the uranium as feed material for 
light-water reactor fuel. DPRK officials say that they await 
additional corresponding measures by the United States before 
they are willing to take actions on the fresh fuel rods. If the 
fresh fuel rods are bent, the DPRK would have to recast and 
remachine, which would add several months to a restart time. If 
the fresh fuel were sold, then the DPRK would have to restart 
the entire fuel fabrication facility and produce new uranium 
metal, which would add approximately a year to a restart time.

    Reprocessing Facility (Radiochemical Laboratory). The 
disablement actions at the reprocessing facility were 
restricted to the front end--the fuel transfer building and 
fuel transfer areas in the main building. The hot cells and the 
plutonium laboratories have not been affected. At this time, no 
new spent fuel can be transferred and processed at the plant. 
The four disablement actions at the facility are substantial, 
but could most likely be reversed in a matter of months.
    The principal reason for leaving the hot cells intact for 
now is that they still contain all high-level radioactive waste 
(a volume of 80 cubic meters) from their reprocessing 
campaigns. In addition, the facility also contains low-level 
uranium waste from previous campaigns. The high-level waste 
represents the most hazardous product of the reprocessing 
operations. It is important that it be treated, stored, and 
disposed of properly. The DPRK has very little experience with 
such waste. When questioned about their disposition plans, they 
told us that they have only done a few experiments on waste 
disposal. They have explored vitrification of the waste and 
separation of cesium and strontium with subsequent disposal of 
what remains as mid-level waste. They have done some small-
scale vitrification experiments. When questioned about their 
plans to disable the hot cells or the plutonium laboratories, 
they said they had no such plans because they considered the 
entire reprocessing facility disabled if the front end is 
    In response to my question, Yongbyon officials stated that 
they are not able to do any equipment maintenance. They said 
all of the facilities in question are under IAEA seal and 
monitoring. When asked how long they can do without maintenance 
and still be able to salvage the facilities, they said that the 
ability to restart the facility vanishes if maintenance 
restrictions last for a long time (they did not define what 
they mean by long). In any case, they have a limited time to 
treat the high-level waste or wind up with a significant safety 
problem. They estimated that it would take them 1 year to 
finish the waste treatment job.
    It is important to understand and to be prepared for the 
fact that the DPRK will have to restart the reprocessing 
facility some time in the next year or so to allow for the safe 
disposal of its high-level radioactive waste and the remaining 
low-level uranium waste. I also strongly urge reconsideration 
of the decision to ship the current load of spent fuel out of 
the DPRK. The spent fuel rods are now being discharged into the 
cooling pool where they would have to be recanned for safe 
transportation outside the DPRK. It is still possible to 
reinstall the disabled equipment on the front end of the 
reprocessing facility and to conduct one more reprocessing 
campaign with IAEA monitoring. Although diplomatically this may 
be considered a step backward, technically it would be a giant 
step forward. Technical considerations strongly favor 
reprocessing the spent fuel under IAEA monitoring and dealing 
with the disposition of 10 to 12 kilograms of plutonium. The 
current plan of recanning 50,000 kg of highly radioactive spent 
fuel for interim storage and eventual shipment is a monumental 
job. Moreover, eventually this spent fuel will have to be 
reprocessed somewhere due to its unstable nature. DPRK 
officials stated that the final disposition of the fuel rods 
has not yet been decided in the six-party process. They are 
taking the disablement, dismantlement, and final abandonment 
one step at a time.
    My overall assessment is that the disablement actions are 
significant. I believe that the DPRK leadership has made the 
decision to permanently shut down plutonium production if the 
other parties do their part. However, they have retained a 
hedge to be able to restart the facilities if the agreement 
falls through. All of the equipment removed as part of 
disablement is being stored. A key question is how much of a 
time delay to restart the Yongbyon Nuclear Complex is incurred 
by the disablement actions and to what level could the DPRK 
reconstitute or enhance plutonium production.
    At this point, all actions could be reversed and the 
facilities restarted. With only approximately one quarter of 
the reactor fuel having been discharged to date (end of 
February 2008), it may take 6 to 12 months to restart all 
facilities. If the reactor fuel discharge is completed and the 
fresh fuel in storage is disabled or sold, the time for restart 
would most likely increase to 12 to 18 months. In any case, 
none of these actions can be taken without the knowledge of the 
U.S disablement team and IAEA technical monitoring team. Also, 
since no maintenance is allowed, the longer the facilities 
remain disabled, the more difficult it will be for the DPRK to 
restart them.
    However, even if the DPRK decides to break out of the six-
party agreement and restart operations, it will have only 
limited capacity for plutonium production. In the scenario 
described above, it may be possible to replace the discharged 
fuel and reload one more reactor core with fresh fuel. 
Consequently, the DPRK could continue to produce approximately 
six kilogram of plutonium (or roughly one bomb's worth) per 
year for the next 4 to 6 years. If they reconstitute all fuel 
fabrication facilities, then they could produce additional fuel 
for future reloading and continue to produce that much 
plutonium into the foreseeable future. Although the 5 MWe 
reactor had some operational difficulties before the shutdown, 
it can most likely be kept operational for quite a few years.
    The DPRK would not be able to scale up its plutonium 
production any time soon. Based on discussions and observations 
from my previous visits, I believe that the 50 MWe and 200 MWe 
reactors are not salvageable. The DPRK would have to start 
over. It has limited industrial capacity to build these 
reactors in the near future. Therefore, the most that a 
restarted Yongbyon plutonium production complex could produce 
over the next 5 to 10 years is one bomb's worth of plutonium 
per year.
    The current six-party process has put within reach 
permanently shutting down the Yongbyon plutonium production 
complex. To do so, highest priority must be placed on 
completing the disablement (discharging the reactor fuel and 
disabling or selling the existing fresh fuel rods) and 
proceeding to the dismantlement stage. If this is accomplished, 
then the DPRK will not be able to make more bombs and, without 
additional nuclear tests, it will not be able to make better 
Discussions With Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Declaration of Nuclear 
    Although Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials initially 
claimed that they met their declaration responsibilities in 
November, when pressed about a ``complete and correct'' 
declaration, they stated that they are not prepared to provide 
such a list until the five parties complete their corresponding 
obligations according to the October 3 agreement. We discussed 
what I consider to be the three principal components of a 
complete and correct declaration: (1) Plutonium and 
weaponization, (2) uranium enrichment, and (3) nuclear 
cooperation and export.
    MFA officials claimed that they told the U.S. Government 
that they have 30 kilograms of reprocessed plutonium. I told 
them that this amount is lower than my estimate of 40 to 50 kg 
based on findings from four previous visits to the DPRK. It 
will require substantial cooperation and transparency on their 
part to verify the lower number. Such actions will require 
access to reactor production records, reactor components and 
products, reprocessing plant records and facilities, and waste 
products and sites. MFA officials said they are prepared to 
provide such access once we move to the next stage. I asked 
about declaration of the weaponization facilities, such as 
those in which the plutonium pits are cast and machined, the 
explosives are produced and assembled, and the weapons 
themselves (all of which I believe are outside the Yongbyon 
nuclear complex). MFA officials said they are not prepared to 
declare these facilities until the five parties meet their 
October 3 obligations.
    With regard to uranium enrichment, MFA officials told us 
that they have resolved this issue with the Americans. They 
gave U.S. experts access to the aluminum tubes in question at a 
missile factory and demonstrated that these were not used for 
enrichment purposes. In response to my question about reports 
of A.Q. Kahn having sold them centrifuges, they said ``that's 
your story.'' I told them that, in fact, it was Pakistani 
President Musharraf's story since he stated this in his recent 
book. They responded that they have no uranium enrichment 
connections to Pakistan. We were told that DPRK military and 
industrial officials were extremely unhappy with the access the 
Americans were granted and with the fact that they were given 
samples of the aluminum tubes in question. When I asked to 
visit this factory, I was told that neither I, nor anyone else, 
will get access again. Clearly, they were unhappy with the 
consequences of having giving the United States access and 
    We discussed the issue of nuclear cooperation and possible 
export of nuclear materials and technology. Specifically, we 
stated that it is well known that the DPRK has dealt with 
countries such as Pakistan, Iran, and Syria in the area of 
missile technologies. I said that I cannot rule out that 
similar cooperation has occurred in the nuclear field. I 
specifically mentioned the concerns reported in the press that 
the Syrian site bombed by Israel on Sept. 6, 2007 may have been 
a nuclear facility and that the DPRK may have had a connection 
to such a facility. I stated that it is quite likely that the 
Syrian site was a nuclear site based on these reports and the 
fact that Syria cleaned up the bombed site so rapidly and 
completely. I also said that I find it conceivable that the 
DPRK may have assisted Syria in such a venture. MFA officials 
denied having any nuclear connections to Syria. When we 
reiterated the importance of preventing nuclear exports, we 
were told that the DPRK will abide by the Oct. 3, 2007 
agreement not to transfer nuclear materials, technology, or 
know-how. We stressed our concern that should past transfers 
come to light in the future, they may derail the diplomatic 
    What we found in our discussion with MFA officials is that 
at this point they justify not providing a complete and correct 
declaration on the lack of progress by the other five parties 
of living up to their October 3 commitments. Specifically, we 
were told that instead of one million tons of heavy fuel oil 
that was promised (500,000 tons in HFO and 500,000 tons in HFO 
equivalent) only 200,000 tons have been delivered and South 
Korea and China have provided very little of the HFO 
equivalent. In addition, they expected the United States to 
remove them from the states sponsoring terrorism list and drop 
the application of the Trading With the Enemy Act. They 
complained that neither of these has been done. Consequently, 
they have slowed down their disablement actions and they are 
not prepared to present a complete declaration.
Dealing With the Current Negotiations Impasse
    In my view, the greatest threats posed by the DPRK nuclear 
program are (1) the potential export of nuclear weapons, 
fissile materials, or nuclear technology and know-how, and (2) 
the possession of a limited nuclear arsenal and inventory of 
fissile materials (specifically, plutonium). We had previously 
estimated the DPRK inventory of plutonium to be quite small--40 
to 50 kg. The DPRK's declaration of 30 kg is plausible, but 
must be verified. The October 9, 2006 nuclear test was, at 
best, only partially successful. Hence, their small nuclear 
arsenal is most likely of primitive design. It is highly 
unlikely that the DPRK has the confidence to mount a nuclear 
device on a missile. Moreover, it is unlikely that they can 
develop a more sophisticated weapon without additional nuclear 
    The most important risk-reduction actions are to stop the 
production of more plutonium and to stop export of existing 
plutonium and nuclear technologies. The current situation puts 
us within reach of stopping plutonium production for the 
foreseeable future. The five parties should do everything in 
their power to get the DPRK to finish the disablement 
expeditiously and to move on to dismantlement. It is more 
important to stop additional production than it is to 
substantiate whether the current inventory is 30 kg or 50 kg. 
Not permitting the plutonium inventory to grow reduces the 
likelihood of export or of additional nuclear tests. In other 
words, no more bombs, no better bombs, and less likelihood of 
    It will, of course, be important to verify the exact 
quantities of plutonium produced and expended. DPRK officials 
indicated they are prepared to do what is required for adequate 
verification once the five parties meet their commitments. 
Likewise, it will be important to determine the exact nature of 
the uranium enrichment effort. MFA officials believed that the 
extraordinary access allowed U.S. specialists to the aluminum 
tubes at the missile factory was adequate to prove they do not 
have a uranium enrichment program. However, this exercise 
resulted in new questions since traces of enriched uranium were 
reported to have been detected on the aluminum tubes. In 
addition, the DPRK has not adequately addressed the Pakistani 
connection. It is very likely that the DPRK had a uranium 
enrichment research effort, but unlikely that it came close to 
commercial scale. Therefore, the United States should continue 
to press for a ``complete and correct'' declaration, but not 
allow this to impede completing the disablement and moving on 
to dismantlement of the Yongbyon nuclear complex.
    The potential of nuclear exports from the DPRK represents a 
serious risk. It is imperative that the DPRK leadership 
understands that any previous or future export of fissile 
materials (or of nuclear weapons) represents a red line and 
cannot be tolerated by the United States and the other parties. 
The export of nuclear technologies or know-how must be 
acknowledged and assessed, and most importantly must be 
terminated. Such exports are especially worrisome to states 
such as Iran that are developing a robust nuclear 
infrastructure under a civilian umbrella. DPRK officials 
focused their discussion of exports on the future, stating that 
they will abide by the October 3 agreement not to transfer 
nuclear materials, technologies, or know-how. However, a 
reconciliation of past activities must be included.
    The final elimination of all nuclear weapons and weapons-
usable materials have been agreed to in principle in the 
September 19, 2005 Joint Statement. However, the details have 
not been worked out. I believe that denuclearization of the 
Korean Peninsula will require a transformation in relationships 
between the DPRK and the United States. It appears possible, 
but may be a long way off. The United States should not only 
press China and South Korea to get the DPRK to comply, but it 
should meet its own obligations and put the burden squarely on 
the DPRK to proceed with denuclearization.
Nuclear Worker Redirection
    We told our MFA hosts that we were interested in exploring 
the future redirection of the Yongbyon nuclear workers. Since 
the Soviet-built IRT-2000 reactor could potentially be used for 
medical isotope production, I asked to visit the reactor and 
determine key operational characteristics. We were told that 
although the future of the nuclear workers is important, the 
DPRK was not prepared to discuss this subject at this time. 
They indicated that such discussions would be initiated once 
dismantlement of the Yongbyon facilities had been achieved. We 
were denied access to the IRT-2000 reactor.
    At Yongbyon, we met with former Yongbyon Director, Dr. Ri 
Hong Sop, other Yongbyon officials, and officials from the 
General Department of Atomic Energy (GDAE). They repeated the 
MFA comment that this is not the proper time to discuss worker 
reorientation. However, they were willing to get our input and 
they did respond to our questions. We were able to find out the 
key operating parameters for the IRT-2000 reactor and its 
operational status without a visit.
    Dr. Ri said that in the future they would like the Yongbyon 
workforce to be directed to energy--specifically peaceful 
nuclear energy. They expect that an LWR will be introduced. 
They could train their technicians and engineers for the LWR. 
They are also studying how to train their nuclear engineers in 
other areas. He said he is interested in my ideas. He wanted to 
know how to keep a scientific base for the future. This could 
be implemented after the agreement is fulfilled. To date, they 
are still only thinking about this. They are not ready to do 
    I presented the following ideas for consideration:

   In the near future, the focus will be on 
        dismantlement, which will require decontamination and 
        decommissioning of facilities. These activities will 
        engage a significant fraction of the Yongbyon 

   The Yongbyon nuclear complex has significant needs 
        in radiation health physics and environmental 
        remediation. Their facilities contain a lot of 
        radioactive materials and there is heavy contamination. 
        It will be important for them to do the job safely. We 
        could develop collaborations in radiation monitoring 
        and assessment of health effects. The United States has 
        many years of experience in assessing the health 
        effects of radiation. Similarly, it has developed 
        significant expertise in environmental assessment and 
        remediation. Yongbyon officials agreed that these are 
        good areas for cooperation once dismantlement is 
        complete. They indicated that they have also been 
        thinking along these lines.

   I discussed the potential use of the IRT-2000 
        reactor for research, medical, and industrial 
        applications. I told Yongbyon officials that we have a 
        lot of experience with research reactors. We had one at 
        Los Alamos while I was director. I also have worked 
        closely with colleagues from the former Soviet Union 
        who worked with reactors similar to the IRT-2000 
        reactor. I presented an extensive list of possible 
        applications for the IRT-2000 reactor and told them 
        that we need to know the specifications of the reactor 
        to judge what applications may be feasible. The list 
        included radioisotope production (primarily for medical 
        applications), neutron activation analysis, neutron 
        diffraction and radiography, neutron transmutation 
        doping, reactor fuel studies, and neutron radiation 
        cancer therapy.

    Yongbyon officials responded that they have had experience 
with some of the applications I had mentioned. They were 
clearly pleased with my discussion of the possible options. 
They said the key to the IRT-2000 reactor is the fuel. They 
have not been able to get delivery of new fuel (Director Ri had 
previously told me all fuel was supplied by the Soviet Union, 
and that they had not received any new fuel since the 
dissolution of the Soviet Union). The most recent fuel used in 
the reactor was 36 and 80 percent enriched in U-235. I told 
them that it would not be possible to get new HEU fuel because 
of proliferation concerns. They indicated that it would be 
possible to convert the core back to low-enriched uranium, 
which is what the original fuel was when the reactor was 
delivered by the Soviet Union. They also stated that the 
reactor could be operated for several more decades with rather 
minor enhancements.
    Yonbyon officials stated that they have experience in the 
production of medical and industrial isotopes. The Isotope 
Production Laboratory (IPL) has channels that allows them to 
extract targets and extract the radioisotopes of interest. They 
have not done cancer treatments--said they could not get 
results (it was not clear whether or not they actually tried). 
He said it would be helpful to have exchanges in this area. 
They have people who suffer from thyroid cancer, but can't 
treat them.
    Director Ri also indicated that they would like to put 
their technical people onto projects for light-water reactors 
(LWR). If Yongbyon is shut down, he and his colleagues will be 
concerned about what their engineers will do. They have no LWR 
experience now, but they would retrain them. They will need to 
think about how to best accomplish that. I asked about what 
Yongbyon workers could do outside the nuclear arena. I told him 
that this has turned out to be difficult in the United States 
and Russia. It depends on what skills and talents their workers 
have. Ri said there will be time in the future to share that 
kind of information about Yongbyon workers. He hopes that time 
will come.