WORSE THAN THOUGHT: Radioactive gas detected from N. Korea’s bomb test

BY ANNETA GRIFFEE / SEPTEMBER 13, 2017 / North Korea

Following North Korea’s sixth nuclear test on Sep. 3, the United Nations Security Council slammed North Korea with sanctions this week, banning textile exports and putting a limit on fuel imports.

On Wednesday, South Korea confirmed that traces of radioactive xenon gas were discovered to have come from North Korea’s last nuclear test, but could not say for certain if it was a hydrogen bomb, as the North had claimed.

According to the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission, traces of xenon-133 isotope were detected on nine occasions in the northeastern area of the country, and traces of isotope were found just off the east coast four times, although it was not enough to have an impact on South Korea’s population and environment.

“It was difficult to find out how powerful the nuclear test was with the amount of xenon detected, but we can say the xenon was from North Korea,” Choi Jongbae, executive commissioner, told a news conference in Seoul.

Xenon, a natural, colorless gas, is used in the manufacturing of some types of lights. However, the xenon-133 that was detected after North Korea’s nuclear test does not occur naturally but is a radioactive isotope that has been linked in the past to North Korea’s nuclear tests.