SEOUL, South Korea – The United Nations nuclear watchdog will send a group of inspectors to South Korea this week to help it complete a report in November on Seoul’s secret past nuclear experiments, a South Korean official said today. Cho Chung-won, director-general at South Korea’s Ministry of Science and Technology, said a five-member inspection team from the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency will make a six-day visit beginning Tuesday.
Suspicions about South Korea’s nuclear activities spiked after the country recently admitted conducting a plutonium-based nuclear experiment in 1982 and a uranium-enrichment experiment in 2000.
South Korea has repeatedly said its experiments were part of scientific research, and has expressed hope that the case ends at the board of governors’ meeting, and is not referred to the U.N. Security Council.
The revelations threatened to disrupt already troubled efforts to persuade communist North Korea to end its nuclear weapons program.