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Seoul to verify NKorea’s nuclear test in days

South Korea said on Tuesday it expects to be able to verify North Korea’s second nuclear test within days by analysing air samples for radioactive material.

world Updated: May 26, 2009 12:39 IST

South Korea said on Tuesday it expects to be able to verify North Korea’s second nuclear test within days by analysing air samples for radioactive material.

Air-sampling equipment was operational at 70 different places across the country as well as on a vessel and an aircraft off the peninsula, officials said.

“It depends on the wind speed (from North Korea) but we are expecting to secure the air samples we need within a few days -- as early as Wednesday,” Korea Institute of Nuclear Safety spokesman Kim Sang-Hyun told AFP.

President Lee Myung-Bak told a cabinet meeting on Tuesday it would take “two or three days” for Seoul to officially confirm Monday’s test.

South Korea had to wait more than a fortnight before it could confirm the North’s first nuclear test in October 2006. The institute, based in the central city of Daejeon, has operated a 20-strong task force to analyse air-sampling data round the clock since Monday.

After the first test, it announced plans to buy high-tech systems from Sweden and Germany that can detect minute atmospheric traces of certain gases including krypton which are released by reprocessing or by a nuclear test.