Korea, Democratic People's Republic of (DPRK) - Energy and power



Coal, oil, and natural gas provided 32.6% of the DPRK's electricity generation in 2000. Hydroelectricity accounted for the remainder. Coal is by far the most important component of energy production. The major coal-producing center is in South Pyongan Province, where the Anju, Sunchon, Tokchon, Pukchang, and Kaechon coal-producing complexes are located. In 2000, coal accounted for 86% of primary energy consumption. Estimated coal production in 2000 was 101.4 million tons, and domestic consumption was 103.6 million tons that year. Installed electric capacity was 9.5 million kW as of 2001. Production of electricity in 2000 totaled 30.8 billion kWh, up from 9.1 billion kWh in 1960 but down from 51.9 billion kWh in 1991. Consumption of electricity in 2000 was 31 billion kWh. In 1998, engineers and technical advisers from the United States assisted with the installation of windmills in coastal villages in the P'yongyang region.

In 1986, the former USSR agreed to the construction of a nuclear power plant with an expected capacity of 1.8 million kW. In the same year, a hydroelectric power station at Taipingwan, jointly built by China and the DPRK, began operations. In February 1994, North Korea agreed to UN-supported demands that it open part of its nuclear program to international inspections. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) began inspections of North Korean nuclear facilities in March 1991 (almost one year after North Korea withdrew from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty), in order to determine whether or not North Korea was reprocessing spent nuclear reactor fuel, which could be used to make a nuclear weapon. During 1995 the IAEA was still trying to verify the status of the nuclear material, as the DPRK had agreed to some safeguard measures but declined to accept others. As of 2000, nuclear energy in North Korea continued to arouse security concerns as it involves graphite technology that could be applied to the construction of nuclear weapons. The North Korean government was generally regarded as refusing to cooperate with IAEA inspectors by 2000.

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