UN confirms North Korea shut nuclear plants

KUALA LUMPUR, MALASIA - The UN nuclear watchdog said it had verified that North Korea had closed all five of its nuclear facilities, marking a key step in the effort to get the country to give up its nuclear programmes.

"Yes we now verify that all the five nuclear facilities have been shut down," Mohamed ElBaradei, the chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency told reporters in the Malaysian capital.

He was speaking ahead of two days of six-party talks set to begin in Beijing after UN nuclear inspectors verified the shutdown of North Korea's Yongbyon reactor.

The reactor produces material that can be turned into weapons-grade plutonium and in February North Korea agreed to close it in return for 50,000 tonnes of heavy fuel oil, which began moving there from South Korea.

North and South Korea, the United States, China, Japan and Russia will now start to explore how to permanently scrap the Yongbyon complex and terminate North Korea's nuclear weapons potential.



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