North Korea’s Nuclear Tests Threaten More Than 1 Million People with Radiation

A South Korean human rights group has called for an investigation, saying more than 1 million people may have been affected by North Korea’s covert nuclear weapons tests.

Experts from the South Korea-based Transitional Justice Working Group have prepared a report on the radiation risk posed by nuclear tests at the Punggye-ri test site in North Korea’s mountainous North Hamgyong Province.

The underground detonation of nuclear bombs may have released radioactive materials into the groundwater in eight cities and counties near the area, according to the report served by Reuters. The U.S. and South Korean governments say North Korean officials secretly conducted six nuclear weapons tests at Punggye-ri between 2006 and 2017.

TJWG stated that more than 1 million North Koreans live in the at-risk area and that these people meet their daily needs, including drinking water, from underground sources. The group also believes that radioactive materials may have been mixed with fish and agricultural products smuggled into Japan, China and South Korea, which could affect the health of those living in those countries.

International Call for Inquiry

The human rights group has called for a new international investigation into radiation risks to communities near the Punggye-ri nuclear test site in connection with nuclear tests.

According to Reuters, in 2015 the South Korean food safety agency found nine times more radioactive isotopes of cesium than allowed in mushrooms grown in North Korea but sold as a Chinese product. After the incident, China and Japan increased radiation inspections on food products.

Is it possible to secretly test nuclear weapons and no country knows about it? Isn’t this considered a major threat to human health? It scares me to see such news. So what do you think?

Ece Nagihan

Hi, I'm Ece. I am a writer for Expat Guide Turkey and I strive to create the best content for you. To contact me, you can send an e-mail to Happy reading!

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