Sunday, July 15, 2007

IAEA approves atom bomb shutdown mission to N.Korea

I forgot to blog this the other day...

More nuclear good news:

VIENNA (Reuters) - The U.N. nuclear watchdog's governing body agreed on Monday to send monitors to North Korea to verify a shutdown of its atomic bomb program, launching what is likely to be a long and arduous disarmament process.

It would be the first International Atomic Energy Agency mission in the reclusive Stalinist state since it expelled IAEA inspectors in 2002 after Washington accused it of a clandestine effort to refine nuclear fuel.

Clearance for IAEA monitors to fly into North Korea was expected once Pyongyang receives a first batch of fuel later this week, pledged as part of its February disarmament accord with the United States and four other powers.

South Korea said a ship carrying the fuel would leave on Thursday on a voyage likely to take two days.

In a special session, the IAEA's 35-nation Board of Governors approved by consensus the return of nuclear monitors to North Korea 10 days after senior IAEA and North Korean officials agreed ground rules for verifying the atomic halt.

Diplomats said nine monitors would install security cameras and place seals on infrastructure in Yongbyon, including its 5 megawatt reactor where North Korea has produced plutonium, leading to its first test nuclear explosion last October. more

Another case of a poor economy, sanctions, and diplomacy getting results. In both N. Korea and Iran's case I'm curious as to whether or not this just appeasement to get the sanctions lifted. If so we'll start seeing them stall and restricting access to facilities shortly after sanctions are lifted. But I'd love for this current positive trend to continue.