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North Korea: Nuclear Power

Volume 493: debated on Monday 8 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on whether the plutonium production reactor at Yongbyon in North Korea was based on the published blueprints of the first generation Magnox reactors developed by the UK Atomic Energy Authority; what recent discussions he has had with the International Atomic Energy Agency on that reactor; and what representations he has made to the government of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea on its announcement on the testing of a nuclear device. (278418)

We do not know whether the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) has drawn on plans of British reactors in the production of its own reactors. The reactor at Yongbyon, while much smaller, has generic similarities to certain UK Magnox reactors, design information for which has been in the public domain for over 30 years.

The International Atomic Energy Authority provides regular reports to its board of governors, of which we are a member, on its activities in the DPRK. In addition to public statements from my right hon. Friends the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary, I expressed the Government's strong condemnation of the nuclear test to the DPRK ambassador to London on 25 May 2009 and again on 1 June 2009. Our ambassador in Pyongyang made representations in DPRK to the Director Europe at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 2 June 2009 to reiterate our concerns. We are working with partners at the UN Security Council to deliver a strong response to the test.