North Korea reactor announcement 'deeply regrettable', says IAEA

VIENNA (AFP) - North Korea's announcement on Tuesday that it would restart its main Yongbyon nuclear complex to feed its atomic weapons programme is "deeply regrettable", the UN atomic agency said.

"This is another deeply regrettable development, which is in clear violation of UN Security Council resolutions," International Atomic Energy Agency spokeswoman Gill Tudor told AFP via e-mail.

"Once again, the (IAEA) Director General strongly urges the DPRK (North Korea) to implement fully all relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council and the IAEA Board of Governors," she added.

Bringing Yongbyon, which was shut in 2007, back online would allow Pyongyang to restock its dwindling supply of plutonium, which can be used in the core of a nuclear weapon.

A government spokesman said the move would involve "readjusting and restarting" all facilities at Yongbyon, including a plant to enrich uranium - which when highly enriched can also be used in an explosive device - and a five-megawatt reactor.

The aim was to "bolster the nuclear armed force both in quality and quantity", the spokesman was quoted as saying by the official KCNA news agency.

North Korea, which in February conducted a third nuclear test, kicked out IAEA inspectors in 2009.