Independent voices from the TWT Communities
A nuclear test by North Korea will generate sound waves, seismic shock waves similar to an earthquake and, if the test site is not properly sealed, a spike in levels of radiation that will all be quickly detected by a global network of sensors, analysts say.
Cooling systems failed at another nuclear reactor on Japan's devastated coast Sunday, hours after an explosion at a nearby unit made leaking radiation, or even outright meltdown, the central threat to the country following a catastrophic earthquake and tsunami.
The Obama administration wants China to obtain an exemption from an international nonproliferation group before lifting its opposition to Beijing's proposed sale of nuclear power reactors to Pakistan.
"If North Korea tests, it's highly likely we'll find it out. We have before," said Mark Hibbs, a Berlin-based senior associate in the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace's Nuclear Policy Program.
"After sensors register what looks like a test, we can anticipate there will be some surveillance aircraft flying around the neighborhood and following weather patterns to try to pick up nuclides," he added, referring to particles that would indicate an atomic explosion.