Jeffrey has “a post”:http://www.armscontrolwonk.com/1403/disablement about the recent North Korea “nuclear agreement’s”:http://www.totalwonkerr.net/1353/six-party-joint-statement use of the term “disablement.”
As you’ll recall, the joint statement says that the next phase of the denuclearization process is to include
bq. …provision by the DPRK of a complete declaration of all nuclear programs and disablement of all existing nuclear facilities…
I’m sure the term could well be deliberately vague, but given how much time has been spent finding suitable diplomatic language for this thing (you might recall that North Korea “objected”:http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2004_07-08/NKtalks.asp to the term “CVID”), I would be surprised if the word meant nothing at all in Korean. But I dunno.
Anyway, RIA Novosti “provided a clue”:http://en.rian.ru/world/20070212/60561063.html regarding the term’s meaning the day before the joint statement:
bq. North Korea is ready to remove graphite rods from its nuclear reactor in Yongbyon in exchange for greater energy assistance, a RIA Novosti correspondent reported Monday.
Interestingly, former Clinton NSC official Gary Samore “said about a week before”:http://www.cfr.org/publication/12558/samore.html that
bq. Ideally, he [Chris Hill] would convince the North Koreans to take some step *_to disable_* the five-megawatt reactor so it couldn’t quickly be turned back on to resume production of plutonium.
Makes me wonder how long the “disablement” idea has been around.
“graphite rods”? What are they? Magnox type reactors use large graphite blocks as moderator. Perhaps they mean the steel/boron control rods? The Yongbyon 5MWe reactor is based on the UK Magnox design. In the UK, where 26 (much larger) Magnox reactors were built, there is currently a 100-year decommissioning plan in place, with consideration to reducing this to 25-years. So don’t expect total decommissioning to be really fast in NK.