The location where North Korea conducts testing of its nuclear weapons is underground in the mountains. Continuous testing at the same Test Site is taking its toll on the mountain itself. Experts from China have expressed fears that, if such tests continue, the mountain could collapse and release Nuclear Radiation and a major catastrophe. The North Korean leadership is engrossed in its program to develop ICBMs and target the United States. It has, probably, ignored the seriousness of carrying out continuous underground tests at the same site and its effects on the mountain and the environment.

The latest test at the location was the sixth one, and the resultant blast is believed to have been several times stronger than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima during World War II. The blast, monitored by the US, was comparable to a 6.3-magnitude earthquake and aftershocks were felt in China and Russia. In the opinion of Chinese experts, the mountain may not be able to withstand such shocks much longer and collapse.

North Korea’s nuclear tests

Daily Mail UK reports that a leading Chinese expert on nuclear weapons program has said that one more test at that venue could bring the mountain down and release toxic nuclear radiation to adjoining regions. He also added that vertical tunnels would have done less damage to the mountain, but North Korea uses horizontal tunnels which are cheaper.

That has increased the risk of a collapse.

According to the intelligence reports of South Korea, the fifth blast was conducted in tunnel No two at the Punggye-ri test site, and the tunnel is believed to have given way. Japanese and Chinese scientists have confirmed that no radioactive leak has been reported after the apparent collapse of the tunnel and there is no damage to China's environment or its people.

Situation could go out of control

The test site is in Mount Mantap located in the heavily forested Hamgyong mountain range situated about 80-Km from Chongjin, the nearest big city. Given the warnings of experts, Pyongyang must stop the underground testing of its weapons at that location. The collapse of the mountain would release toxic radiation into the atmosphere which would affect not only its people but also the Chinese and others who may be in the range of nuclear radiation.

China is an ally of North Korea, and it must now take the responsibility of persuading North Korea to put a stop to such self-harming activities. South Korea should also play an active role because the collapse of the mountain and subsequent release of toxic nuclear radiation would endanger its people also.