Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization
|Country||U.S. dollars (millions)|
The Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) is an organization founded on March 15, 1995 by the United States, South Korea, and Japan to implement the 1994 U.S.-North Korea Agreed Framework that froze North Korea's indigenous nuclear power plant development centered at the Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center, that was suspected of being a step in a nuclear weapons program. KEDO's principal activity is to construct a light water reactor nuclear power plant in North Korea to replace North Korea's Magnox type reactors. The original target year for completion was 2003.
Since then, other members have joined:
- 1995: Australia, Canada, New Zealand
- 1996: Argentina, Chile, Indonesia
- 1997: European Union, Poland
- 1999: Czech Republic
- 2000: Uzbekistan
The KEDO Secretariat is located in New York.
Formal ground breaking on the site for two light water reactors (LWR) was on August 21, 1997 at Kumho, 30 km north of Sinpo. The Kumho site had been previously selected for two similar sized reactors that had been promised in the 1980s by the Soviet Union, before its collapse.
Soon after the Agreed Framework was signed, U.S. Congress control changed to the Republican Party, who did not support the agreement. Some Republican Senators were strongly against the agreement, regarding it as appeasement. KEDO's first director, Stephen Bosworth, later commented "The Agreed Framework was a political orphan within two weeks after its signature".
Arranging project financing was not easy, and formal invitations to bid were not issued until 1998, by which time the delays were infuriating North Korea. Significant spending on the LWR project did not commence until 2000, with "First Concrete" pouring at the construction site on August 7, 2002. Construction of both reactors was well behind the original schedule.
In the wake of the breakdown of the Agreed Framework in 2003, KEDO has largely lost its function. KEDO ensured that the nuclear power plant project assets at the construction site at Kumho in North Korea and at manufacturers’ facilities around the world ($1.5 billion invested to date) were preserved and maintained. The project was reported to be about 30% complete. One reactor containment building was about 50% complete and another about 15% finished. No key equipment for the reactors has been moved yet to the site.
In 2005 there were reports indicating that KEDO had agreed in principle to terminate the light-water reactor project. On January 9, 2006, it was announced that the project was over and the workers would be returning to their home countries. North Korea demanded compensation and has refused to return the approximately $45 million worth of equipment left behind.
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- Official KEDO website
- Agreement on Supply of a Light-Water Reactor Project to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea - KEDO, 1995
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- Ten Years of KEDO: What Have We Learned?, U.S. Institute of Peace, March 10, 2005
- Half-forgotten project is a key in next round of 6-party talks - JoongAng Daily, 12 September 2005
- Kumho: North Korea's nuclear ghost town - Asia Times, September 24, 2005
- KEDO Puts Final Nail in N.Korea Reactor Project, The Chosun Ilbo, November 23, 2005
- KEDO told to leave North Korea, JoongAng Daily, December 13, 2005
- N.Korea says to build light-water nuclear reactors, Reuters, December 20, 2005
- An unfair burden, JoongAng Daily, December 23, 2005
- KEDO Demands $1.9 Bil. Compensation From NK, The Korea Times, January 16, 2007
- A History of KEDO 1994-2006, Robert Carlin, Joel Wit, Charles Kartman, Center for International Security and Cooperation, July 18, 2012
- Reflections on KEDO: Ambassador Stephen Bosworth, Joel Wit and Robert Carlin (video interview of first KEDO Director), 38 North, July 19, 2012