This is the location where the North Koreans allegedly held their “nuclear” test, but some are already doubting the claims. If you’re a Google Maps person, click here to explore the area further.
U.S. officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that seismic readings show that the conventional high explosives used to create a chain reaction in a plutonium-based device went off, but that the blast’s readings were shy of a typical nuclear detonation.
“We’re still evaluating the data, and as more data comes in, we hope to develop a clearer picture,” said one official familiar with intelligence reports.
“There was a seismic event that registered about 4 on the Richter scale, but it still isn’t clear if it was a nuclear test. You can get that kind of seismic reading from high explosives.”
Not that we can gamble about this, but it’s an interesting idea to discredit nuclear blasts, especially if we can’t see a mushroom cloud.
Still more information that it was a dud…this time from the Wash Post:
A senior intelligence official called it a “sub-kiloton” explosion detonated inside a horizontal mountain tunnel and said its low yield caught analysts by surprise. “For an initial test, a yield of several kilotons has been historically observed,” the official said.
A U.S. government official said the North Koreans, in a call to the Chinese shortly before the test was conducted, said it would be four kilotons. The official said it is possible the explosive yield was as low as 200 tons. France and South Korea both issued sub-kiloton estimates, and officials dismissed as inaccurate an early Russian estimate that the blast resulted from a five-to-15-kiloton explosion.
(h/t: Willy Ritch)