Japan’s nuclear regulator says no radiation has been detected from North Korea’s nuclear test, but it is reinforcing monitoring efforts.
TOKYO, JAPAN (JANUARY 6, 2016) (REUTERS) – No radiation had been detected from North Korea’s nuclear test at Japanese monitoring posts, the country’s nuclear regulator said on Wednesday (January 6).
North Korea’s state TV announced earlier on Wednesday it successfully conducted a test of a miniaturised hydrogen nuclear device, about an hour after Japan detected a 5.1 magnitude earthquake near North Korea’s known nuclear test site.
Japan’s nuclear regulator said it had detected no radiation changes at its ground monitoring posts and from surveillance military aircraft following the test in North Korea’s North Hamgyong Province, about 900 kilometres (559 miles) from Japanese soil.
“No changes in radiation level have been detected today,” said General Manager of Environmental Radioactivity Office at Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA), Satoshi Yamamoto.
“We have never detected any radioactive substance released to the air following North Korea’s previous underground nuclear tests, so we’re not expecting to detect any of them coming to Japan this time as well,” Yamamoto said.
However, he said that the NRA would tighten up its radiation monitoring.
“We’re intensifying our effort to monitor and detect radioactive substance in the air to make sure they’re not reaching Japan,” Yamamoto said.
North Korea, under United Nations sanctions for its nuclear and missile programmes, has so far conducted three nuclear tests – in 2006, 2009 and 2013 – all at Punggye-ri, near the location of Wednesday’s earthquake.
The NRA operates 721 radiation monitoring posts across the Japanese archipelago, excluding 3,640 in Fukushima Prefecture set for intensive monitoring after the 2011 nuclear accident.