On July 15, 2007, the DPRK shut down and sealed the key nuclear facilities at Yongbyon and allowed IAEA inspectors back to monitor the shut-down. DPRK workers began to disable these facilities under U.S. technical supervision a few months later. The shut-down 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.
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 Oct. 3, 2007 commitments. If the DPRK decides to break out of the six-party agreement and restart operations, it will have only limited capacity for plutonium production.
This report accompanied a trip report made by Keith Luse, senior staffer to Sen. Richard Lugar, to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.