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(2nd LD) N. Korea's nuclear test unlikely to contaminate S. Korea: gov't

2016/01/06 15:45

(ATTN: RECASTS throughout; UPDATES with changed magnitude)

SEOUL, Jan. 6 (Yonhap) -- The South Korean meteorological administration said Wednesday that North Korea's nuclear test is unlikely to contaminate South Korea with radioactive waste.

Considering the wind velocity and direction, radioactive substances, if they were created, will be filtered into the East Sea, Ko Yun-hwa, the chief of the Meteorological Administration, said in a press briefing.

Earlier in the day, North Korea announced on its state-run television that the country's "first hydrogen bomb test was successfully conducted."

   The announcement came few hours after South Korea detected an "artificial earthquake" of magnitude 4.8 near the North's nuclear test site.

The Meteorological Administration said the quake occurred in an area 49 kilometers north of Kilju, home to the country's Punggye-ri nuclear test site. It is 1.2 kilometers away from where the North conducted its third atomic test.

The meteorological office said, however, it cannot verify whether the blast was actually due to an H-bomb test.

Whether it was indeed a hydrogen bomb test or not will be verified later by the Nuclear Safety and Security Commission after it conducts a detection test on radioactive substances.

North Korea conducted nuclear tests in 2006, 2009 and 2013, drawing international condemnation and U.N. sanctions.

When the North conducted its third atomic test in February 2013, a similar artificial earthquake occurred.

"We decided North Korea's quake was artificial since it mostly had primary waves, with little or no secondary waves," the chief of the weather office said.

According to the meteorological agency, natural earthquakes usually incur similar or larger vibrations of secondary waves than the primary ones.

The meteorological administration said that the magnitude of the quake was 4.2 before revising it to 4.8.