A spokesman said on April 14 that North Korea is ceasing cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors.

He said: “The Democratic People´s Republic of Korea (DPRK) has today informed IAEA inspectors in the Yongbyon facility that it is immediately ceasing all cooperation with the IAEA.

“It has requested the removal of all containment and surveillance equipment, following which, IAEA inspectors will no longer be provided access to the facility. The inspectors have also been asked to leave the DPRK at the earliest possible time.

“The DPRK also informed the IAEA that it has decided to reactivate all facilities and go ahead with the reprocessing of spent fuel.”

The actions come a week after the country launched a rocket over northern Japan.

Meanwhile, on April 13 Iran and the European Union agreed to resume talks about its nuclear programme, according to media reports.

Last week president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that he was willing to enter negotiations with the US, but refused to cease uranium enrichment, which remains a key issue, according to Israeli newspaper Haaeretz.

Ahmadinejad said that Iran has followed IAEA regulations and the non-proliferation treaty.

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Nukenomics: The commercialisation of Britain’s nuclear industry. By Ian Jackson