NewsNorth Korean defectors apparent of radiation, South Korean study finds

North Korean defectors apparent of radiation, South Korean study finds

Kim Jong Un
Kim Jong Un
Images source: © Getty Images | Mikhail Svetlov

4:12 PM EST, February 29, 2024

These individuals, former residents of Kilju County and surrounding areas, underwent testing for six months. The primary concern of the researchers was the health impact of living near the Punggye-ri nuclear test sites, where North Korea conducted all six of its nuclear detonations since 2006. These defectors fled the North after the first tests began.

The focus of the study was to determine the level of radioactive contamination and its potential health effects on these former Pyongyang citizens. The outcomes, however, were unexpectedly reassuring.
Despite the proximity of these individuals' homes to the site of the nuclear explosions, tests revealed that no residual radiation was detected in their bodies.
"The assessment of all 80 participants revealed no significant findings, leading to the conclusion that, at the time of testing, there was no notable level of radioactive contamination present among those examined," stated the Korean Institute of Radiologic and Medical Sciences in a report for the Korea Hana Foundation, an organization assisting defectors and affiliated with the ministry.

Past examinations conducted by the government on 40 defectors in 2017 and 2018 similarly indicated possible radiation exposure, yet the test results fell within normal ranges.

Thus, the findings offer a glimmer of hope, suggesting that the consequences of Kim's nuclear ambitions may not be as perilous as feared. Punggye-ri is not a deadly zone or significantly more hazardous than other regions under the dictator's rule.

In summary, since the onset of nuclear testing in 2006, nearly 800 people have fled from North Korea to the South, as reported by Yonhap.
Source: Yonhap
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