“DPRK Will Re-Operate Nuclear Facilities Within A Few Weeks to Produce Electricity”


Interview with Sin Yong Song, Vice Minister of Power and Coal Industries


By Kim Ji Yong, PK correspondent to Pyongyang


Q: How is the current condition of electricity supply in the DPRK?


A: As the U.S. stopped supplying heavy oil to the DPRK, the regular operation of our thermal power stations is directly disturbed. Thermal power stations run mainly on coal, and we use heavy oil as supplementary fuel for the operation of thermal power stations. We estimate the annual shortage of electricity at hundreds of thousand kilowatts.

We foresaw the present situation, as we have paid attention to the Bush administration’s hard line policy. The Cabinet and ministries of the DPRK held their emergency meetings to establish measures to cope with this problem. We have promoted technical innovations to control the use of fuel oil in thermal power stations while constructing hydroelectric power stations.

We started work to increase the production of electricity by hydroelectric power stations, shortly after the decision of the U.S. to stop oil supply to the DPRK. We have taken technical countermeasures to heighten the output of each generator and replaced old waterwheels. Workers at power stations are determined to work harder to make up for the deficiency of productive capacity of electricity at thermal power stations, to overcome U.S. policy to crush the DPRK.

The DPRK is also promoting the innovation and modernization of power transmission facilities and substations in order to overcome the loss of electricity caused in the process of transmitting electricity. Every household restricts use of electricity.


Q: How did you use 500,000 tons of heavy oil annually supplied by the U.S.?


A: Supplied heavy oil had been used by thermal power stations in accordance with the promise made between the DPRK and KEDO. We can completely keep international accords.

The Ministry of Electricity and Coal Industry sent and distributed heavy oil to power stations in various areas. There are large-scale thermal power plants in Chongjin, Unggi, along the River Chongchon, Bukchang and Pyongyang and East Pyongyang. KEDO also confirm that we distributed heavy oil properly. The ministry researched the amount of electricity production of each generator and examined whether the distributed oil was used properly or not.

The U.S. says that for past years it had provided 500,000 tons of heavy oil annually, but the supply had been often behind time. Though there may have been various conditions under which the U.S. could not deliver heavy oil within a set period, I think that the delay is a trick of the U.S.

In 1994, the U.S. promised the DPRK to construct two light water reactors and provide heavy oil, but it must have made such a promise in anticipation of an early collapse of the DPRK. We already saw through Washington’s scheme at the time.


Q: What did officials concerned think about the Geneva Agreed Framework signed between the DPRK and the U.S. in 1994?


A: The then U.S. President Bill Clinton sent a letter of assurance for the agreement of the Geneva accord to General Kim Jong Il. You may say that a U.S. president cannot tell a lie. But we did not expect too much of what KEDO said it would do for us.

Organizations concerned actively advanced Kim Jong Il’s plan to construct of medium and small-sized hydroelectric power stations.

In fact, the U.S.’s annual supply of 500,000 tons of fuel oil was not sufficient for supplementing the electricity loss caused by the freeze of our nuclear power plants. Despite the deficit of electricity, the DPRK side had sincerely followed the Geneva Agreed Framework. The U.S. stopped the provision of heavy oil to the DPRK on the pretext of our “approval of nuclear development.” We guessed that the U.S. would use such duplicity sooner or later.


Q: When will unfreezed nuclear-related facilities in Nyongbyon start to operate?


A: We will be able to generate electricity in the facilities within a few weeks. Now we are speeding up our preparations for resuming their operation. We have to immediately recover the loss of electricity caused by the stop of the supply of heavy oil.

The Ministry of Electricity and Coal Industry is drawing up a definite plan for electricity supply. The process is now in its final stage. The electricity generated by the nuclear power station in Nyongbyon will be provided to North and South Phyong-ang provinces.

Foreign media often insist that the nuclear facilities in Nyongbyon are used as installations to produce nuclear weapons because it has no power-transmission lines, but such an assertion is nonsense. The Nyongbyon facilities are installations for electric-power production, which have power-transmission and power-distribution equipment and transformer substations. The Ministry of Electricity and Coal Industry is in charge of the Nyongbyon facilities. The IAEA has already verified in the 1990s that the Nyongbyon nuclear facilities have electric power transmission lines.

The DPRK declared in its governmental statement that the DPRK had no intention to produce nuclear weapons though it withdrew from the NPT. When former U.S. President Jimmy Carter visited Pyongyang in July 1994, the late President Kim Il Sung clearly said to Carter that the DPRK would not develop nuclear weapons.


Q: What do you think about the prospect of the electric-power production in the DPRK?


A: We have lived for a long time under the U.S. sanctions. It is an undeniable fact that we have suffered hardships due to the shortage of oil, but we constructed lots of small and medium-sized power stations during the difficult period in the 1990s. The DPRK has bases for producing electricity and recovering its economy with its own resources.

The U.S. has complicated the situation. The U.S. has provoked us by stopping the provision of heavy oil. The history of the DPRK-U.S. relations in the 1990s shows that pressure and blockade can never force our people to give in. Sooner or later, the U.S. will surrender to us. It is just a matter of time.



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