Jeffrey has “a great post”:http://www.armscontrolwonk.com/1419/more-on-disablement featuring a DOE report discussing the “disablement” of the DPRK’s Yongbyon reactor.
The report’s argument for dismantling the mechanism that lowers the control rods into the reactor core reminded me of an RIA Novosti article that I cited in “this post.”:http://www.totalwonkerr.net/1360/north-korea-and-disablement
According to that piece:
bq. North Korea is ready to remove graphite rods from its nuclear reactor in Yongbyon in exchange for greater energy assistance…
[ *Point of clarification:* I misunderstood the DOE report and the RIA Novosti story. The two solutions described aren’t the same, though the article may well be describing what the North Koreans agreed to – which illustrates the potential difficulties that the denuclearization WG will face.
I should also point out that the phrase “graphite rods” doesn’t make any sense…it almost certainly means fuel rods. Graphite is the moderator for the reactor and is not in rod form. Given the arrangements under the Agreed Framework for monitoring the ~8,000 spent fuel rods, it’s not surprising that the North Koreans might agree to remove them and put them in a pond or something.]
Incidentally, when I was working on the North Korea story for the latest issue of _ACT_, a former Clinton administration official told me that various ways of “dismanlting” the Yongbyon reactor were kicked around back when the thing was still shut down. Apparently, one of the ideas involved pouring cement into the reactor. There were also some more complex proposals floated, needless to say.
BTW, if you are still feeling sluggish, “watch some Converge.”:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNhwKYBwF1c