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Radioactive gas detected in South Korea from North Korea’s nuclear missile launch

U.S. Soldier readies for decontamination (U.S. Army)
September 13, 2017

South Korea has detected a radioactive xenon gas from a nuclear missile that North Korea launched earlier this month – the country’s sixth ever nuclear missile launch. The North had also threatened that it now has a Hydrogen bomb it can place on an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), but South Korea was unable to determine if the gas it detected is from an H-bomb.


Xenon gas is used to make certain types of lights; it is colorless and odorless. The type of xenon gas that South Korea detected has been connected to North Korean missile tests in the past. Xenon-133 – the type of gas detected in South Korea – does not occur naturally.

“The Nuclear Safety and Security Commission [NSSC] said its land-based xenon detector in the northeastern part of the country found traces of xenon-133 isotope on nine occasions, while its mobile equipment off the country’s east coast detected traces of the isotope four times,” according to a report.

“‘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,” said Choi Jongbae, executive commissioner, according to the report.

The gas has no impact on the environment and people in South Korea, the report added.

The United Nations Security Council on Monday voted unanimously to pass its strongest sanctions yet on North Korea following its sixth ever successful nuclear missile launch and the country’s H-bomb claims.

The sanctions, while watered down from original drafts, fully ban the country’s textile exports and reduce its oil and petroleum exports. This means about 90 percent of North Korea’s exports are now banned, as well as a complete ban on the country’s overseas laborers that provide nearly $500 million in revenue. Additionally, all foreign investment with North Korea is cut off, and the regime’s assets will be frozen.

The United Nations in August unanimously approved sanctions against North Korea in response to Kim Jong Un’s two successful intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) in July.

Then, North Korea threatened “thousands-fold” revenge on the United States following those sanctions, which cut North Korea’s export revenue by $1 billion, or about a third. The sanctions banned North Korea from exporting coal, iron, iron ore, lead, lead ore and seafood.

North Korea’s sixth nuclear missile test caused a 6.3 earthquake and was roughly five times as large as the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, Japan. The test came hours after North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un claimed that it now had an H-bomb to put onto its long-range ICBMs.