Chinese scientists warned North Korea that mountain above the country’s nuclear bomb test site is at risk of collapsing and leaking radiation across the region.
Last weekend, Pyongyang staged its sixth nuclear trial at its Punggye-ri base in an underground blast estimated to be up to ten times more powerful than the device dropped on Hiroshima.
I fear just one more test could ‘take the mountain’s roof off’ sparking a toxic radiation drift across the region, said Wang Naiyan, a former chairman of the China Nuclear Society and a researcher on China’s own nuclear weapons programme.
International seismic agencies registered this as a man-made earthquake near a test site after the nuclear test on Sunday. Changbai Korean autonomous county remains the closest Chinese urban location to the Punggye-ri test center and the radiation level of that area increased slowly from an average of 104.9 nanograys per hour to 108.5.
Japanese and South Korean officials said the tremor was about 10 times more powerful than the one picked up after North Korea’s previous nuclear test a year ago.
Japan upgrades the estimated size of North Korea’s 6th nuclear nuclear test to 160 kilotons, more than 10X size of the Hiroshima atomic bomb
— Will Ripley (@willripleyCNN) September 7, 2017
Several other monitoring stations including the Antu County station situated at the foot of Changbai Mountain and in Yanbian Korean autonomous district also detected the same.
The satellite images released by the US-based Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies made the Chinese government not so happy after North Korea’s latest action. The University of Science and Technology of China research team also warned that this mountain is now at a higher risk of imploding.
If that happens the radioactive material right now buried underneath the surface would be released gradually with a devastating effect. By Wednesday morning the county’s average radiation level climbed up to 110.7 with the highest level being 112.5.
However, the ministry wrote on its official website that, ‘Results of monitoring make clear that this North Korean nuclear test as of now has produced no effect on our nation’s environment or the public’.
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