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N. Korea nuke plant restarted

Seoul, Feb. 5 (Reuters): North Korea said today it had restarted atomic facilities at the centre of its suspected nuclear weapons programme and was putting them on a normal footing, and blamed the US for the crisis.

“The DPRK (North Korea) is now putting the operation of its nuclear facilities for the production of electricity on a normal footing after their restart,” said a foreign ministry statement carried on the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA).

The statement came five days after US officials said satellite surveillance had shown North Korea was moving fuel rods around the reactor complex, including possibly some of the 8,000 spent rods experts consider a key step in building bombs.

But the US officials added that there was no sign that crucial reprocessing of those spent rods had begun. North Korea’s statement did not mention the fuel rods, and repeated its assertion that it had ended the freeze on its nuclear reactor solely in order to produce electricity.

North Korea rejected the International Atomic Energy Agency’s plans to refer the issue to the UN Security Council.

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