Monday, February 24, 2003

The country was fully electrified before the crisis began in the 1990's," said Timothy Savage, who surveyed North Korea's energy needs in 2000 for the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainable Development, a California-based group. "They have appliances, radios, televisions, and in some cases refrigerators."

But because of a lack of maintenance, North Korea's hydro and fuel oil plants were working at only 30 percent of capacity, and 30 percent of production was lost as a result of leakage, the Nautilus survey found.

The survey calculated that this nation of 22 million people was limping along on 2 gigawatts of energy, less than the amount of power consumed by an American city of one million people.

Not surprisingly, this is seen as all America's fault:
"The U.S. stands between us and electricity," said Kim Dae Sung, a 35-year-old park guide, voicing a government-approved view that most of North Korea's shortcomings are the fault of the United States. Bitter that she never knows whether she will watch television after work or read by candlelight, she said, "Why do the Americans keep making problems with electricity?"

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