Disarmament DiplomacyIssue No. 22, January 1998
Senator Visits Suspended North Korean Nuclear Facility
In mid-January, Senator Carl Levin (Democrat - Michigan), the Ranking Minority Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, visited the Yongbyon heavy-water nuclear reactor in North Korea, shut down following an October 1994 Framework Agreement between North Korea and the United States. The US suspected that the reactor was being used to produce fissile materials as part of a nuclear-weapons development programme. As Senator Levin explained, speaking in Seoul on 19 January, his main interest was in observing the process of extracting the facility's nuclear fuel-rods. He reported that the operation seemed currently to be proceeding satisfactorily:
"The purpose of my visit was to visit the actual site of the North Korean nuclear facility... We wanted to see with our own eyes, and we did...[that] the canning of the spent fuel is occurring successfully."
Report: Levin - N. Korea nuke shutdown on track, United Press International, 19 January.
© 1998 The Acronym Institute.