N Korea announces progress on uranium production
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Last Updated: Wednesday, November 30, 2011, 11:00
Seoul: North Korea on Wednesday said it is making progress in producing low-enriched uranium and insisted it would not accept US demands to shut down the programme.

"The construction of experimental LWR (light water reactor) and the low-enriched uranium for the provision of raw materials are progressing apace," a foreign ministry spokesman told the official news agency.

The spokesman rejected demands by the US and its allies that the uranium enrichment plant be shut down before six-party nuclear disarmament talks resume.

Scientists say the plant at Yongbyon could easily be reconfigured to make atomic weapons. The North says the plant will fuel the LWR, which will be used to generate electricity.

"The right to the peaceful use of nuclear energy is an issue vital for the sovereignty and development of the DPRK (North) and, therefore, neither concession nor compromise should be allowed," the spokesman said in a statement.

Diplomatic efforts have intensified in recent months to revive the six-party talks which the North abandoned in April 2009, one month before its second atomic weapons test.

The North wants talks without preconditions and says its uranium enrichment programme -- first disclosed to the world a year ago -- can be discussed at the forum.

The US says the North must first show it is serious about the talks, which have dragged on since 2003, by shutting down the programme. The negotiations also group South Korea, China, Russia and Japan.


First Published: Wednesday, November 30, 2011, 11:00

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