September 13, 2017

OH: South Korea detects radioactive gas from North Korea bomb test.

The Nuclear Safety and Security Commission said its land-based xenon detector in the northeastern part of the country found traces of xenon-133 isotope on nine occasions, while its mobile equipment off the country’s east coast detected traces of the isotope four times.

“It was difficult to find out how powerful the nuclear test was with the amount of xenon detected, but we can say the xenon was from North Korea,” Choi Jongbae, executive commissioner, told a news conference in Seoul.

The commission could not confirm what kind of nuclear test the North conducted, he added.

Xenon is a naturally occurring, colorless gas that is used in manufacturing of some sorts of lights. But the detected xenon-133 is a radioactive isotope that does not occur naturally and which has been linked to North Korea’s nuclear tests in the past.

If North Korea hasn’t yet tested a hydrogen bomb, they probably aren’t far away from one.

Related: More than ever, South Koreans want their own nuclear weapons.