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Doubts raised about North Korea's nuclear test
OhmyNews brief (qiang)     Print Article 
Published 2006-10-10 03:39 (KST)   
As the international community rises up to condemn North Korea's alleged nuclear test Monday, doubts are being raised about whether the seismic event recorded in North Hamgyung province about 240 miles northeast of Pyongyang was indeed caused by a nuclear device.

South Korean monitors were first to report seismic activity in the area measuring 3.58 on the Richter scale, while the U.S. Geological Survey recorded a 4.2-magnitude earthquake.

If confirmed, the seismic wave would appear to indicate that the tests would fall short of a one-kiloton explosion, the equivalent of 1,000 tons of detonated TNT.

However, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov is reported to have said that the testing produced an explosion between five and 15 kilotons and that it was indeed nuclear in nature.

The nuclear weapon the U.S. detonated over Hiroshima on Aug. 6, 1945 resulted in about a 12.5 kiloton explosion.

Until results of radiation monitoring in the area can be analyzed, there may be some doubts left about whether Monday's explosion was caused by conventional weapons. The North official Korean Central News Agency reported that there was no radiation leakage from the test site.

However, the U.S. government and members of the international community are operating under the assumption that the test was nuclear in nature, and are proceeding accordingly as they draft a resolution in the U.N. Security Council.
©2006 OhmyNews

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