September 12, 2004
N. Korea blows up

It wasn’t the whole country that blew up, but something big exploded in northern North Korea near the China border on Thursday. News is just filtering out to the world now with reports saying there was a 3-4 km mushroom cloud spotted and a crater visible on satellite photos.

Thursday was North Korea’s 56th anniversary of founding. Did they detonate a nuclear bomb to celebrate?

Yonhap news agency has the most detailed report I’ve found so far:

Mushroom Cloud Spotted at North Korean Border: Sources

A reliable source in Seoul’s diplomatic community said Sunday that a mushroom cloud with a radius of 3.5 to 4 kilometers was spotted, along with a massive explosion, in Kimhyongjik County in North Korea’s northernmost inland province of Yanggang on Sept. 9.

“The Sept. 9 explosion occurred at around 11 a.m.,” the source said. “But it is not clear yet whether the explosion is related to an intentional nuclear experiment or a simple accident.” He noted that the site of the explosion and mushroom cloud is not far from the North’s Daepodong missile base.

Similar reports are coming from Beijing sources, but some are saying that the blast occurred in the south, near the DMZ. Others claim that large expanses of smoke indicate a forest fire.

There’s a lot of confusion, significant delays in reporting and not a lot of clear facts. Typical for N. Korean news. How very 19th century…

Posted by kuri at September 12, 2004 01:56 PM


This was in today’s NY Times:

But there was no indication of an actual test. If there had been, wouldn’t there have been seismic reports?

Posted by: Pete on September 12, 2004 07:01 PM

Also found this: on BBC News about a train disaster at Ryongchon station on Saturday that was “…just like the mushroom cloud after a nuclear explosion.” According to the article.

Posted by: Pete on September 12, 2004 07:27 PM

According to one South Korean source, there was seismic activity detected. An American source says there wasn’t. When you’re dealing with any news N. Korean, it’s a big mass of conflicts because North Korea pretty much doesn’t report anything, leaving others to conjecture.

Vladivostok reports stable radiation levels on Thursday, so that’s an encouraging sign.

The NY Times article seems to have been written before Thursday’s explosion came to light, with extra paragraphs about the blast added at the last moment. So of course all those officials who were interviewed were concerned about possible future tests, not one that had perhaps occurred in the past week.

Posted by: Kristen on September 12, 2004 07:29 PM

The Ryongchong train accident happened on April 22nd. And yes, all sorts of explosive clouds are mushroom shaped..not only nuclear ones.

Posted by: Kristen on September 12, 2004 07:34 PM

Latest reports suggest it was in preparation for a dam and hydroelectric scheme… hhmmm

Posted by: Tracey on September 13, 2004 05:45 PM
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