Interesting. This is not being reported in the US yet. Evidently, around October 10th, after North Korea’s 6th nuclear test, a nuclear site tunnel collapsed killing at least 200. 100 died when it came down and another 100 died in a second collapse trying to rescue them. There is no word on how extensive the radiation leak is from this catastrophe either. This happened at the Punggye-ri nuclear test site in the northeast of North Korea. People fear a massive radioactive leak which could spark a Chernobyl- or Fukushima-style disaster.
A North Korean official said the collapse happened during the construction of an underground tunnel, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reports. The South Koreans are aware of this report, but so far know nothing about it. The collapse is believed to have been triggered by Kim Jong-Un’s sixth nuclear test on September 3rd, which weakened the mountain. Reports surfaced earlier this year that the mountain under which the nuclear base is believed to be hidden, was at risk of collapsing and leaking radiation.
According to experts, if the peak of that mountain crumbles, clouds of radioactive dust and gas would blanket the region. The Punggye-ri test site is carved deep into the side of Mount Mantap. Geophysicist Wen Lianxing and his team at the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei, Anhui province, said they were “confident” underground detonations were occurring underneath the mountain. They composed an analysis of more than 100 seismic monitoring sites across China. All the nuclear tests happened under the same mountain.
Seismic data showed the underground test triggered an earthquake of magnitude 6.3, around ten times more powerful than the fifth test a year ago. That particular blast caused multiple landslides on the mountain. Chinese nuclear weapons researcher and chair of the China Nuclear Society Wang Naiyan said that a collapse could spark a major environmental disaster. “We call it ‘taking the roof off’. If the mountain collapses and the hole is exposed, it will let out many bad things. A 100 kiloton bomb is a relatively large bomb. The North Korean government should stop the tests as they pose a huge threat not only to North Korea but to other countries, especially China.”
There aren’t many mountains in North Korea that would be suitable for such a nuclear test. If the North simply drilled into the side of the mountain, this would massively increase the risk of “blowing the top off.” News of this tunnel collapse is now emerging after Russia and the US have both flown nuclear bombers near the country as tensions grow over Kim’s nuke threats. He’s still threatening to detonate a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific. The bombs are being detonated underground to prevent the spread of radiation and to cloak them in secrecy.
The release of radiation from an underground nuclear explosion – an effect known as “venting” – would give away clues to the technical composition and size of the device. Some analysts put the yield of the weapon as high as 280 kilotons. Satellite images of the Punngye-ri site taken immediately after the test revealed significant damage to surface features, including landslips.
On October 17th, a study published by the US-Korea Institute at Johns Hopkins University suggested the sixth underground test at the site had caused “substantial damage to the existing tunnel network under Mount Mantap.” It added that there is a possibility that the site is suffering “Tired mountain syndrome,” although there were no indications that it was being abandoned for future nuclear tests. The South Koreans now fear that if another nuclear test is conducted at the site, the mountain will collapse entirely causing a radioactive catastrophe. The extent of damage and contamination at the site because of the tunnel collapses is still unknown at this time.
Chinese scientists have issued similar warnings, suggesting that nuclear fallout could spread across “an entire hemisphere” if the mountain did collapse. Whatever is going on at that nuclear site, it is having catastophic results and could become even deadlier.
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