200 Feared Dead in a Nuclear Test Site Collapse in North Korea

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Over 200 people are believed to have died when an underground tunnel collapsed in Punggye-ri nuclear facility in North Korea.

The test site was left weak by the sixth of the country’s nuclear tests, a 100 kiloton nitrogen bomb, roughly seven times powerful than the one that wiped out Hiroshima in 1945.

According to a North Korean source to Asahi TV of Japan, the country was constructing an underground tunnel in October at the Punggye-ri nuclear facility when the walls came down. The collapse buried roughly 100 builders. A group of 100 other workers was sent to rescue their colleagues, but another wreck covered them as well, bringing to a total of around 200 dead workers.

The small-scale earthquakes that occurred after the September test demonstrated that Punggye-ri was no longer a suitable nuclear test site. The site lies on the southern side of mount Mantapsan. By building an underground tunnel, experts say that it is an indication that North Korea is not stopping with the nuclear tests. They’re willing to move them to a new location, but still around the same mountain.

Scientists from China and South Korea believe that if the mountain collapsed, it could trigger a significant radiation leak. A weather agency official, Nam Jae-Cheol told South Korea’s lawmakers in a meeting that if North Korea continued with the nuclear tests at the site, a significant collapse could occur.

Lee Won-Jin, a Korean meteorological researcher, presented an analysis of satellite images that showed landslides caused by the September nuclear test.