DPRK Announces Fourth Nuclear Weapon Test
This morning, the Vienna-based Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO) reported on ‘unusual seismic activity in the Korean peninsula’ detected by its International Monitoring System (IMS). The event took place at 01:30 UTC, and was located in the area used by DPRK for its previous nuclear tests in October 2006, May 2009, and February 2013. The DPRK state-run news agency, KCNA, has issued an official announcement claiming this was the country’s first test of a hydrogen bomb.
The US Geological Survey (USGS) reports that the tremor measured 5.2 in magnitude. The CTBTO has announced that its experts are analysing the data they possess, and will provide information to the public through a dedicated webpage. Final confirmation of a nuclear explosion will await further information, including additional detail on the seismic event, which could become available in the next few hours, and analysis of radionuclides released in the atmosphere.
Click here for an initial analysis of how the CTBTO might verify the KCNA announcement.
A list of relevant VERTIC publications on CTBTO and nuclear test monitoring can be found below:
- ‘DPRK Nuclear Test’ (2013), Analysis of the 2013 nuclear test by Andreas Persbo and Hassan Elbahtimy (VERTIC);
- 'IMS Detects Isotopes from North Korean Nuclear Test' (2013), Analysis of the 2013 nuclear test by Russell Moul (VERTIC);
- ‘Dealing with objections to the CTBT’ (2015), Edward Ifft (Georgetown University);
- 'The CTBT: Verification and Deterrence' (2013), by John R. Walker (UK FCO);
- 'Bad Vibrations: Windfarms and Seismic Monitors' (2011), Isadora Blachmann-Biatch (VERTIC);
- ‘Can GPS navigate us to covert underground nuclear test sites?’ (2010), Isadora Blachmann-Biatch (VERTIC);
- ‘The CTBT: Prospects for entry into force’ (2010), by Jeffrey Lewis (Middlebury Institute for International Studies at Monterey);
- 'Putting the CTBT into Practice' (2009), by Malcolm Coxhead (Australian Safeguards and Non-proliferation Office) and David Jepsen (Geoscience Australia);
Last changed: Jan 07 2016 at 12:05 PMBack