"Off-Site Air Sampling Analysis And North Korean Nuclear Test"
Institute for Nuclear Materials Management 48th Annual Meeting, Tucson, Arizona, 8-12 July 2007
Conference Proceedings, Institute of Nuclear Materials Management
Author: Hui Zhang, Senior Research Associate, Project on Managing the Atom
While some people in the international community were skeptical about whether North Korea had actually tested a nuclear device on Oct. 9, 2006, the U.S. Director of National Intelligence stated decisively on Oct.16, “Analysis of air samples collected on October 11, 2006 detected radioactive debris which confirms that North Korea conducted an underground nuclear explosion.” Moreover, some experts suggested that such air sampling analysis would be able to determine if the fissile material was plutonium or uranium. In this paper, Zhang explores what information could have been obtained from offsite air sampling analysis. Specifically, he examines how to use the activity ratios of xenon isotopes to identify the North Korean nuclear test and whether the off-site air sampling analysis would be able to distinguish a test from a plutonium-bomb and a HEU bomb.
- Hui Zhang NK Air Sampling (123K PDF)
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