On August 19, the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) held a groundbreaking ceremony at the North Korean site where two light water reactors are to be built under the terms of the 1994 U.S. North Korean denuclearization accord. (See p. 3.) KEDO, led by the United States, South Korea and Japan, is overseeing the multi billion dollar project and the delivery of heavy fuel oil to North Korea until the first reactor is operational. In exchange for the reactors and the fuel, Pyongyang agreed to freeze and eventually eliminate its nuclear weapons program.
Over the next year, KEDO will be preparing the Kumho site near Sinpo City, and building the infrastructure to support the estimated 7,000 South Korean workers who will live in the North while the project is completed. The Korea Electric Power Company (KEPCO), the South Korean state owned company selected as the prime contractor, is currently working at the site under a $45 million preliminary works contract that includes housing, support and storage facilities, road improvements and the transport of materials and equipment. KEDO and KEPCO are still negotiating the prime contract, which is expected to be finalized this fall.