The scorecard on the North Korean nuclear test

The results on the North Korean nuclear test are starting to come in.

According to NHK the Japanese have found:

Japan’s 47 prefectures say no radioactive substances have been detected at any measuring points in a survey conducted one day after North Korea’s claimed nuclear test.

The prefectures took samples of dust and rain from the air on Tuesday as part of an emergency government monitoring program.

They say the survey shows no trace of radioactive substances peculiar to a nuclear explosion, and that air radiation levels are normal.

Other government checks, including an air survey of radioactive substances from a Self-Defense Forces’ training plane, have also shown no unusual data.

Yonhap reports the South Koreans’ results:

SEOUL, Oct. 12 (Yonhap) — No signs of unusual radiation levels have been detected in South Korea after North Korea said it successfully detonated a nuclear device, the government said Thursday.

The Ministry of Science and Technology said none of the government’s 38 manned and unmanned monitoring centers had picked up any spikes in natural radiation from Monday noon to Thursday morning. The usual levels of radiation in South Korea are 10-20 Micro-Roentgen (mR).

U. S. sources report:

WASHINGTON – Results from an initial air sampling after North Korea’s announced nuclear test showed no evidence of radioactive particles that would be expected from a successful nuclear detonation, a U.S. government intelligence official said Friday.

The test results do not necessarily mean the North Korean blast was not a nuclear explosion, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to disclose the sampling results.

Nonetheless, the readings reinforce uncertainty about the size and success of Monday’s underground explosion, which North Korea has trumpeted as a nuclear test. It also keeps alive lingering questions about whether it was in fact a nuclear blast. Data from seismic sensors have already indicated the explosion was smaller than expected.

Given the North Koreans’ announcement and the reported pre-test discussions with the Russians the evidence would appear to suggest that either the test was a dud or a deliberate fraud.

I’m not certain it makes a great deal of difference whether the North Koreans successfully detonated a nuclear device, their nuclear device was unsuccessful, or they’re trying to convince us that they’re farther along than they really are.  The situation should be taken seriously.

1 comment… add one
  • as I’m sure you’re aware, I’ve been holding for several days now, that the explosion that was detected was not nuclear in nature.

    Let’s go back in time just a little; April of 2004, to be exact:

    Ryongchon, North Korea

    The Ryongchŏn disaster was a train disaster that occurred in the town of Ryongchŏn, North Korea near the border with China on April 22, 2004.

    The disaster occurred when a flammable cargo exploded at the railway station at about 1300 local time (0400 GMT). The news was broken by South Korean media outlets, which reported that up to 3,000 people had been killed or injured in the blast and subsequent fires. The North Korean government declared a state of emergency in the region, but little information about the accident has been made public by the notoriously secretive government. Shortly after the accident the North Korean government cut telephone lines to the rest of the world (an action correspondents attributed either to a desire to inhibit foreign reporting or to prevent their own population from learning unfavourable news about the accident).

    The Wiki also has this to say about that explosion:

    Reading between the lines, one conclusion is that an explosive made from ammonium nitrate was being transported by rail. Under this explanation, the explosive (maybe a form of ammonium nitrate fuel oil, or ANFO) was probably intended for canal construction, and various officials must have confused this with other explosives and pure fertilizer in their differing accounts.

    It’s a little difficult to quickly nail down articles from the time, that quote specific estimated tonnage for the explosion of that day… But I don’t recall the explosion being too inconsistent with the 550 tons of TNT estimated at last night’s “test”. I do recall reports at the time saying that seismology is from around the world know that the explosion. I also recall that there were Syrian ‘advisors’ on board that train who were reportedly killed in he explosion. It seems unlikely that this was a normal train of AN and FO given the presence of Syrians.

    So, we have a possible history of Syrian involvement in shipping a trainload of ANFO bombs into the country. Is it possible that we’re dealing with what they had planned for that first shipment, finally doing what they’d planned for, two years ago? We know that North Korea, Syria, and Iran have been playing footsy for the last several years now. What if this was a pure fake, orchestrated specifically for the purpose of our response from the rest of the world?

    Now, mind you, I’ll more than grant that this is pure speculation based on an absence of evidence, as much as anything. But is it so far out of line to suggest the possibility that what we’re dealing with here isn’t a nuclear test in all, but a fake generated by an amonium nitrate and fuel oil? It does seem to fit both the events we know about and it would seem to explain a lot about what we don’t.

    Just sayin’….

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