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.