Radioactive materials found in S. Korea following the North’s latest test

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SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA — Traces of radioactive material were detected in South Korea on Friday, following last Sunday’s nuclear capable weaponry test by North Korea, the Yonhap news agency has reported.

The Nuclear Safety and Security Commission found  Xenon-133 – a radioactive nuclide (radionuclide) – when it conducted an analysis of ground, air and maritime samplings, collected locally after North Korea’s launch.

North Korea claims they successfully tested a hydrogen bomb (H-bomb) Sunday, which can be loaded atop an intercontinental ballistic missile. The test has alarmed experts as North Korea continues to defy the international community and advance their nuclear ambitions.

According to the nuclear safety agency, the detected amount of xenon measures 0.43 millibecquerel per cubic meter or 0.03 MBq/㎥. The agency said that the amount of material it found would not have any health effects on South Koreans.

According to the report, South Korea’s background radiation currently remains at the usual level, which is 50-300 nanosieverts per hour.

“The agency is currently tracking down the inflow of the material to conclude whether it is a result of the nuclear test,” Yonhap reports.

According to Pub Chem, an open chemistry database, Xenon-133 is one of a group of “unstable isotopes of xenon that decay or disintegrate emitting radiation.”

“Xe atoms with atomic weights 121-123, 125, 127, 133, 135, 137-145 are radioactive xenon isotopes.”

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