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North Korea nuclear test site has collapsed and may be out of action – China study

Thursday - 26/04/2018 07:25
Report builds on evidence that site is unstable after sixth nuclear test and puts Kim Jong-un’s pledge to no longer use site in a new light
 
Chinese experts also flagged the need to monitor for radioactive leaks from North Korea’s nuclear test site. Photograph: Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images
Chinese experts also flagged the need to monitor for radioactive leaks from North Korea’s nuclear test site. Photograph: Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images

North Korea’s main nuclear test site has partially collapsed under the stress of multiple explosions, possibly rendering it unsafe for further testing and leaving it vulnerable to radiation leaks, a study by Chinese geologists has shown.

The findings could cast doubt on North Korea’s sincerity in announcing last weekend that it would stop testing nuclear weapons at the site ahead of Friday’s summit between the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, and the South Korean president, Moon Jae-in.

The test site at Punggye-ri, in a mountainous area in North Korea’s north-east, has been the location for all six of the regime’s nuclear tests since 2006.

The findings, by scientists at the University of Science and Technology of China, suggest the partial collapse of the mountain that contains the testing tunnels, as well as the risk of radiation leaks, have potentially rendered the site unusable.

The study was published soon after Kim said his country would stop testing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, and close down Punggye-ri before his meeting with Moon just south of the countries’ heavily armed border.


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