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Last Updated: Monday, 20 September, 2004, 11:07 GMT 12:07 UK
IAEA resumes S Korea probe
Students look at a diagram showing the theory of nuclear energy at the Seoul Science Museum
The South Koreans have shown interest in the nuclear cycle
Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency have resumed investigations into South Korea's recently-revealed nuclear experiments.

The IAEA has expressed concerns about the illicit nuclear activities, which involved plutonium and uranium.

Seoul has repeatedly stressed it has no intention of building nuclear weapons.

North Korea has said it will not return to six-nation talks on its own nuclear programme until South Korea's research was "fully probed".

The IAEA team returned to South Korea over the weekend, for the second time this month, to continue investigations into the country's clandestine nuclear experiments.

On Monday a team of five inspectors arrived at the country's main nuclear research centre in the city of Daejon, to begin a week of checks.

The director-general of the IAEA, Mohammed el-Baradei, is also due to visit Seoul next month in a further sign of the agency's concern.

Questions

South Korea has admitted its scientists conducted tests in 1982 and again four years ago to extract plutonium and to enrich uranium, two separate routes to an atomic bomb.

Oh Joon, right, Director-General for International Organization of Foreign Ministry and Cho Chung-won, left, Director-General for Nuclear Energy Cooperation of Science and Technology
South Korean officials are liaising with the IAEA over the revelations
But the government says the tests were on too small a scale to be significant and has blamed curious scientists acting without official authorisation.

Many questions remain unanswered.

The inspectors will investigate why South Korea failed to declare three separate sites for the production of uranium metal which was used as a raw material for some of the experiments.

North Korea is using the South's predicament to counter criticism of its own nuclear ambitions.

The state news agency has backed up earlier statements that the North will not return to the negotiating table until South Korea's activities have been fully investigated.

North Korea also accuses the United States of double standards, for not being more critical of the revelations from South Korea.


WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Christen Thomson
"The state says it is pulling out of any further meetings"



SEE ALSO:
US chides Seoul on nuclear tests
10 Sep 04  |  Asia-Pacific
Seoul faces fallout from disclosures
09 Sep 04  |  Asia-Pacific
Seoul admits extracting plutonium
09 Sep 04  |  Asia-Pacific
Seoul allies calm on nuclear shock
03 Sep 04  |  Asia-Pacific


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