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Is North Korea's nuclear test base inoperable?

Chinese scientists ensure that the site in which several atomic bombs have been detonated has collapsed; American analysts believe it could still work

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Is North Korea's nuclear test base inoperable?

Kim Jong-UN's decision to suspend nuclear tests and close his Test field has put focus on current state of facilities where regime has detonated up to six atomic bombs. Two groups of Chinese scientists agree on a diagnosis: The mountain inside which hides nuclear silo of Punggye-Ri has collapsed and has left unusable site, so that announcement of Kim is more opportunism than will. American analysts, however, evidence that re is less activity around test field but maintain that it remains viable for future trials.

Punggye-Ri is located in norastern North Korea, in a sparsely populated mountainous area that lies a hundred miles from Chinese border. The last atomic test, on September 3, caused an earthquake of magnitude 6.3 to detonate a bomb whose power is estimated at 250 kilotons, largest tested by country to date. This explosion proved fatal to geological structure of Mount Mantap, a peak of up to 2,100 meters of altitude.

More information
  • Kim Jong-Un sends a gesture to Trump by finishing his nuclear tests
  • The end of nuclear testing drives summit between two Koreas

Two groups of scientists of China, after study of many images by satellite and data of seismic stations ( only form of analysis before secrecy of regime), have determined that large part of site collapsed minutes after this last Nuclear test. A team of geologists from University of Science and Technology of city of Hefei estimate that explosion created a gap of about 200 meters in diameter inside mountain, which caused collapse. The chain effect provoked even that part of ridge of mountain slid towards that emptiness, which left a sort of "scar" in mountains that is visible from outside.

Anor group of Chinese researchers, in this case seismologists of earthquake agency of Jilin province, shuffle a similar hyposis. But y add possibility that, due to fragility of rocks, a pathway has been created through which radiation can escape. "It is necessary to continue to control possible leaks of radioactive material caused by sinking," said authors of report on its website. Never have any of neighboring nations reported abnormal radiation levels by Korean tests.

The analysis of specialized page 38North, linked with School of Advanced Studies Johns Hopkins (USA), are fixed especially in activity around base. And its conclusion is that at least some of silo tunnels are still "fully operational." The staff at base would have left norrn part of complex, where last atomic test was carried out, but new excavations were detected on west Side throughout month of March that stopped completely in mid-April. "This suggests eir tunnel is finished and ready for new trials or that slowdown reflects political changes that are happening," analysts conclude, referring to summits with South Korea and United States.

The latest images analyzed by 38North show much less activity than usual in Punggye-ri, but remember that it is too early to determine if Kim Jong-Un is fulfilling his promise to close site. Sometimes not even se satellite photographs are reliable at 100%, because regime knows when it is under magnifying glass — also at what exact moment satellite flies over country and nuclear test base — and acts accordingly, sometimes playing Dismissal.


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