Halliburton Subsidiary to Build North Korea's First Light-Water Reactor

Pyongyang, North Korea, November 5, 2006 -- A jubilant U.S. State Department announced today that the Halliburton subsidiary of Buhn & Dogale, a small ceramic figurine manufacturing firm located in the Cayman Islands, has been granted a coveted $3.2 billion no-bid contract to construct North Korea's first light-water nuclear reactor.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said key officials associated with the contract award, an important component of the recently signed North Korean Now You See Them Now You Don't Strategic Nuclear Arms Limitation Treaty, were "elated".

"We've all worked very hard over the past several years to put this agreement in place," said McCormack. "According to the terms of the treaty, we will provide funding, technical know-how, and construction capacity and infrastructure to build North Korea's light-water nuclear plant, in return for which North Korea will promise not to secretly build any more nuclear weapons and to destroy their current stockpile. Pyongyang has assured us they will begin to dismantle all of their existing nuclear capabilities as soon as the first spade hits the ground. They've been a little coy about telling us what those capabilities are, exactly, though."

Buhn & Dogale, which currently handles production coordination and billing for offshore sectors of the commemorative plate, teacup and religious figurine industry, boasts three full-time employees and an intern who comes in Thursdays after school. The corporation's headquarters is a large second-story Cayman Islands office suite decorated in a colorful "Island Swing" style.

Regarding the Bush Administration's choice of Buhn & Dogale, which has no previous experience in the construction or maintenance of nuclear facilities, some liberal skeptics suggested they may have been selected due to the company's close affiliation with Halliburton, an oil services conglomerate formerly run by vice president Dick Cheney and from which Cheney still receives six-figure annual remuneration.

"What's a ceramic figurine company doing winning a three billion dollar no-bid nuclear contract?" fumed House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. "Why not just give the contract to my local veterinarian, or a horse show judge, or something?"

According to McCormack, the local veterinarian had already been tapped by Bush for the post of acting FDA Director and was therefore unavailable for the Pyongyang project.

"Besides," McCormack continued, "companies don't do anything in-house any more, anyway. Halliburton rarely, if ever, has in-house expertise for the projects for which they're granted no-bid contracts. They simply subcontract it out at a hefty profit. You know, it's not what you know, it's who. Maybe whom. Whom do you know, do you know who-- it's the American way, anyway."

Validating McCormack's point, Zingo Erroth, a spokesman for Buhn & Dogale, announced later in the day from his hammock that the company will be assigning the preliminary construction phase of the project to a group of over 3,000 unskilled laborers culled from the Walmart Corporation's confidential "inside agitator danger list".

"They don't seem to know a whole lot about nuclear reactors," said Erroth, "but they can handle shovels and don't appear to be too fazed by the risks associated with handling uranium. We'll be getting them fairly cheaply, too, excuse me, I spilled my Cuba Libre, as Walmart needs to get them out of the country before they get any further along organizing their union. The Waltons are even paying their transport to North Korea. One-way, but still."

Construction of the reactor, to be built in the South Hamgyong province of North Korea, is scheduled to commence in March, 2007, with completion estimated in the summer of 2010. The process will be broken into eight phases, at the end of each of which the North Korean head of state Kim Jong Il has promised to personally dismantle one nuclear warhead.

"We've worked out every detail except for the exact disposition of the phases," said an upbeat McCormack. "We think they should be distributed fairly equally throughout the entire construction process. Kim Jong Il, on the other hand, says the first phase is the building of the reactor, and the other seven are the leader's seven birthday celebrations following reactor start-up. I'm sure we'll find common ground soon."

By Ion Zwitter, Avant News Editor

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