The Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (Kedo) has announced its decision to finally terminate the construction of two light-water reactors in the North Korea.

The move follows years of dispute over the suspended project, which aimed to bring North Korea new energy sources without allowing it access to uranium enrichment technology. In the Framework Agreement signed by North Korea and the USA in 1994, the North agreed to freeze its existing nuclear programme in exchange for the construction of two 1000MWe LWRs within ten years. The European Union, Japan, South Korea and the USA set up the Kedo project to achieve this, but accusations that Pyongyang was developing a secret nuclear programme saw development grind to a halt in November 2003. KEDO placed responsibility for the decision on North Korea whose “continued and extended failure” to implement their agreed obligations led to the impasse.

The South Korean Unification Ministry expressed its regrets over the decision but has acknowledged that the development could not be suspended indefinitely. South Korea claims that $1.56 billion has been spent on the project so far and the Kedo consortium is expected to seek compensation from Pyongyang. A statement from Kedo sais that it “requires payment… for financial losses”. Adding that any issues between Kedo and the North should be settled in accordance with Kedo’s agreement with the country.

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