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Abnormal radiation detected near Korean border

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By The Staff

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Abnormal radiation was detected near the inter-Korean border days after North Korea claimed last month to have achieved a nuclear technology breakthrough, South Korea's Science Ministry said Monday.

The ministry said it failed to find the cause of the radiation but ruled out a possible underground nuclear test by North Korea. It cited no evidence of a strong earthquake that must follow an atomic explosion.

On May 12, North Korea claimed its scientists succeeded in creating a nuclear fusion reaction — a technology necessary to manufacture a hydrogen bomb. The technology also one day could provide limitless clean energy because it produces little radioactive waste, unlike fission, which powers conventional nuclear power reactors.

South Korean experts doubted the North actually made such a breakthrough. Scientists around the world have been experimenting with fusion for decades, but it has yet to be developed into a viable energy alternative.

On May 15, however, the atmospheric concentration of xenon — an inert gas released after a nuclear explosion or radioactive leakage from a nuclear power plant — on the South Korean side of the inter-Korean border was found to be eight times higher than normal, according to South Korea's Science Ministry.


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