Two days after North Korea announced it had conducted a nuclear fusion test, South Korea said that it detected abnormally high radiation in the air near the two countries’ border.
According to the Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety, located in Geojin, Gangwon Province, a gaseous radioactive matter known as xenon, a by-product of nuclear fusion, was detected, the South Korean Science Ministry announced on Monday.
The institute said that the level of radiation measured was eight times higher than the normal level after a nuclear test.
The seismic activity that would have accompanied a test of a nuclear weapon was not detected, but a South Korean expert said he still suspects that the nuclear fusion test may have involved a hydrogen bomb.
The North claimed on May 12 that its scientists had succeeded in creating a nuclear fusion reaction and called it a “breakthrough toward the development of new energy.”
But experts in the South expressed doubt about the North’s claim of a breakthrough, saying that scientists around the world have been experimenting for decades with fusion, but it has yet to be controlled into a viable alternative source of energy.
A United Nations agency rejected the South’s claim, saying that no signs of increased radioactivity were detected last month along the Korean border.