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IAEA inspectors wrap up probe in S.Korea over uranium experiment
www.chinaview.cn 2004-09-05 23:32:25

    SEOUL, Sept. 5 (Xinhuanet) -- The rest two members of the inspection team from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA),who are probing South Korea's uranium case, left the country on Sunday, a government official was quoted by a local newspaper as saying.

    The two are among the seven members of the IAEA inspection team,who arrived in South Korean on Aug. 29, to probe the case that several South Korean scientists conducted separation of uranium experiment in early 2000.

    The two inspectors left South Korea after surveying a dismantled research reactor kept in the old KAERI building in Taereung, Seoul on Sunday, the Chosung Daily quoted Cho Chung-won,atomic energy director at the Ministry of Science and Technology, as saying in its website.

    The reactor was the first one introduced in South Korea when the KAERI was established in 1962 and was dismantled in early 1990.     

    Five IAEA inspectors left the Asian country on Saturday with half of the 0.2 gram uranium enriched by these scientists of the (South) Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI) in January-February 2000.

    The South Korean influential newspaper also said the 0.1 gram uranium taken away by IAEA inspectors was dissolved in nitric acid and was sealed in a plastic bottle.

    "The inspection team expressed their gratitude for the help of the government and KAERI. I think there will be no problems in the future," said Cho.

    The IAEA will conduct an analysis of the enriched uranium they brought from South Korea to discover its elements and enrichment level. Then they will report to the board of directors whether their analysis is in accordance with the South Korean government's report, the newspaper said.

    "The IAEA will repeat the analysis several times, the final result is expected to come out in two or three months," Cho said.

    If the result is not different from South Korean government's report, details will not be made public. But if it is different, it would be inevitable to reveal it to decide whether another inspection is needed or not, the official added.

    On Thursday, South Korea announced that a group of IAEA inspectors were visiting the country to look into its voluntary declaration that there was an experiment four years ago that led to the separation of 0.2 gram of uranium.

    The announcement surprised the international community and made international media pay great attention to the case.

    Earlier, South Korean government senior officials stressed the experiment was an academic-oriented activity that had nothing to do with nuclear weapons and that the enriched uranium was far below weapons-grade. Enditem 

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