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IAEA to verify NKorea reactor closure

VIENNA, July 4 (UPI) -- The U.N. atomic watchdog agency, whose experts visited North Korea, reportedly has drafted ways to verify closure of that country's main nuclear reactor.

Mohammed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, referred the arrangements to the agency's 35-nation governing board, China's official Xinhua new agency reported Wednesday.

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The steps cover shutting down and sealing of North Korea's Yongbyon reactor as part of the February agreement North Korea reached with nations in six-party talks.

Xinhua quoted diplomats in Vienna, where IAEA is based, saying the report would first be referred to the governing board nations. That board will then hold an extraordinary meeting to discuss and ratify the arrangement July 9.

Following authorization from the governing board, the IAEA would deploy verification in Yongbyon, Xinhua said.

The report comes in the wake of a visit to North Korea by an IAEA delegation headed by deputy director Olli Heinonen, who also heads the agency's department of safeguards.

Earlier, Xinhua quoted Heinonen as saying, "We have now moved to an understanding on how to do ratification and monitoring on Yongbyon facilities when they will be shutdown."

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