North Korea has conducted six nuclear tests. All of those have been under Mount Mantap where the Punggye-ri nuclear facility is located.
Now Scientists from Beijing are warning them that the mountain has become unstable. Just one more explosion could blow the top of the mountain, reported Express.
If that test happens, it could lead to the mountain collapsing, releasing radioactive waste. Once released, it would undoubtedly blow across the border into China, which is just 50 miles away from the test site.
“Researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Geology and Geophysics warned Pyongyang delegates of the risk during a briefing in Beijing soon after North Korea's last nuclear test on September 3,” writes the Express.
The meeting occurred a mere two days after the North Korean Foreign Minister told reporters that the Communist country is considering another hydrogen bomb test. China has warned Kim Jong Un not to risk another test at the same facility.
On Monday, South Korea’s weather agency chief, Nam Jae-Cheol, said the same thing, reported ABC News. During a parliament meeting, he told a lawmaker that “any future nuclear test by North Korea risks collapsing its mountain test site and triggering a radiation leak.”
This is backed up by the fact that South Korea has detected several mostly small-sized earthquakes near the northeastern nuclear test site the North used for its sixth and most powerful bomb explosion in September.
“Experts say the quakes suggest the area, which was also used for the North's previous underground nuclear tests, is now too unstable to conduct more tests there,” said ABC.
Lee Won-Jin, a Korea Meteorological Administration researcher, also said that analysis of satellite photos of the site showed landslides occurred after the last test.
“He also said there now might be a hollow space inside Mount Mantap, the granite peak where the North's test site is located, citing studies of past underground nuclear tests by the United States,” added the article.
However, it’s unlikely that North Korea will cease testing nuclear weapons. Kim Jong Un seems very focused on his goal of developing nuclear-tipped missiles that could strike the mainland USA.
This insistence has caused the relationship between North Korea and China to become strained. The government in Beijing has recently felt the pressure of the United States, who want to sanction the rebel country.
“North Korea has been walking a diplomatic tightrope by taking advantage of strategic mistrust between China and Russia, but it has not been easy as Beijing has sternly responded to its nuclear and missile provocations,” said Kim Han-kwon, a professor at the Korea National Diplomatic Academy in Seoul.
Do you think North Korea will risk a nuclear meltdown? In other news, a massive storm has left 700,000 people in the U.S. without power.