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The Rarely Revealed Part of the Nuclear Problem

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https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/9766215/north-korea-nuclear-leak-uranium-mines/

 

TOXIC SLUDGE 

North Korea nuclear leak fears as satellite images show rivers turned BLACK near uranium mines

  • Michael Havis and Patrick Knox
  • 21 Aug 2019, 10:00
  • Updated: 21 Aug 2019, 18:34
 
 
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NORTH Korea’s nuclear programme is feared to be leaking toxic waste which could be contaminating 400,000 people — risking cancer and horrible birth defects.

Disturbing photos appear to reveal how a uranium plant in the north of the country is spilling huge amounts of toxic waste into a river which provides water to drink and for crops. 

This images shows the source of the alleged leak which is turning the river black
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This images shows the source of the alleged leak which is turning the river black
The toxic sludge is flowing into the river, water from which is drunk by thousands of people
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The toxic sludge is flowing into the river, water from which is drunk by thousands of peopleCredit: Michael Havis
The waste can be seen building up in a reservoir neighbouring the plant, but also leaking into the river
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The waste can be seen building up in a reservoir neighbouring the plant, but also leaking into the riverCredit: Michael Havis

The potential radioactive leak was discovered by eagle-eyed US-based researcher Jacob Bogle.

By examining satellite images of the Pyongsan uranium site, Mr Bogle believes a horror has been unfolding which has been covered up by the highly secretive and insular state. 

But he thinks the catastrophe may soon be hard to hide because the toxic leak is now flowing into the Yellow Sea the country shares with neighbouring South Korea and China.

This could ultimately affect an estimated 600million people and end up being the world’s worst man-made disaster. 

In the photos, a pipeline built to carry toxic water from the facility to a nearby waste reservoir appears to be leaking into a river instead, which in turn empties into the Yellow Sea.

Mr Bogle said: “I was able to review high-resolution historical satellite imagery for multiple years going back to 2003.

“Each of the images shows an ever-growing pile of leaked material on either end of the pipe that takes waste material from the plant to an unlined reservoir.

“Some of the images also show fluids being actively spilled directly into the river.

“The plant is one of two declared uranium milling facilities in the country. It takes low-quality coal and processes it to create yellowcake, which then contains around 80 per cent uranium.

“The extraction and milling requires multiple chemical processes and leaves behind a very toxic mix of waste materials.

“That toxic waste is then sent to the nearby reservoir, leaking and travelling into the Ryesong River in the process.”

The poisonous sludge has been building up for years in the reservoir, but it appears to have been leaking
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The poisonous sludge has been building up for years in the reservoir, but it appears to have been leakingCredit: Michael Havis

MILLIONS MORE AT RISK

The plant lies roughly 60miles south of the North Korean capital, Pyongyang.

Mr Bogle estimates that, within just 9.3miles of the Ryesong, there could be as many as 400,000 people drinking the river water or eat the crops fed by it.

The Ryesong ultimately empties into the Han River estuary, which in turn flows into the Yellow Sea between China and North Korea. 

Some 600 million people could be at risk. 

Mr Bogle said: “The waste material will contain everything that is left over from the coal and any contaminated water.

“Uranium milling produces radium, which is radioactive, and that will be sent through the leaking pipe along with the other contaminants like lead, arsenic, vanadium, and other heavy metals.

“The radium will decay into the gas radon, which will enter the atmosphere each time the plant runs.

“While the other materials will leak into any groundwater sources and of course be carried downriver.”

He continued: “Defector testimony from other nuclear-related sites like Yongbyon and the nuclear-test mountain report major health effects, such as cancer, respiratory problems, and birth defects.

“There is no reason to suspect the people near Pyongsan are immune to the effects of radon and heavy metals.

“Radon will be carried throughout the area and can cause lung cancer. 

“Lead and arsenic poisoning can cause neurological problems, especially among children.

“At dangerous levels, the other heavy metals can cause a wide range of health problems.”

The plant was constructed in the 1980s – and though imagery of the site is only available from 2003 onwards, Mr Bogle says that even in those early photos the leak is visible.

“So it has been ongoing for at least 16 years,” he said.

To get an idea of just how much could have leaked in that time, Mr Bogle has also analysed the buildup of waste in the nearby reservoir.

GL-MAP-north-korea-nuke.jpg
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Mr Bogle estimates that the sludge pile there grew by 18,000 square metres in just three years, from 2016 to 2019.

“The leak only occurs whenever the plant is in production,” he said.

“But given the enormous growth of the sludge pile within the reservoir, it wouldn't be an aggressive estimate to suggest that at least hundreds of gallons of contaminated material are spilled into the river each day the plant runs.”

Because of the closed-off nature of North Korea, the leak can’t be verified on the ground.

But Mr Bogle, whose map of the country is freely downloadable at accessdprk.com, believes the available evidence is clear.

Despite promising US President Donald Trump that he was giving up his nuclear weapons programme, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has been forging ahead with his ambitions to be a global power.

Last week, Kim was photographed looking overjoyed after his fifth round of ballistic missile tests in less than three weeks.

Happy chappy.... North Korean leader Kim Jong Un guides the test firing of a new weapon
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Happy chappy.... North Korean leader Kim Jong Un guides the test firing of a new weaponCredit: Reuters
 
 
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I don't think anyone with experience with NK thought the behavior would change unless Trump caved. Which Trump wouldn't do. Just stirred up hopes, which is a good thing, but to think NK would drop nuclear when it's their fundamental insurance policy, nope. Let the hermit kingdom stay that. Keep the pressure on, but public shows/summits only really benefit them, not us.

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Hello. I am a 78 year old retired accountant with a BS degree in public accounting from NYU School of Business & Finance. I am a USAF veteran . 

 

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On 8/23/2019 at 12:22 PM, John Foote said:

I don't think anyone with experience with NK thought the behavior would change unless Trump caved. Which Trump wouldn't do. Just stirred up hopes, which is a good thing, but to think NK would drop nuclear when it's their fundamental insurance policy, nope. Let the hermit kingdom stay that. Keep the pressure on, but public shows/summits only really benefit them, not us.

I always thought that North Korea was a puppet of China and threatened by both them and Russia with which they also share a border. I don't see any other option for them. They would be much better off aligned with South Korea and the West. 

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11 hours ago, Carroll A. Esposito said:

Hello. I am a 78 year old retired accountant with a BS degree in public accounting from NYU School of Business & Finance. I am a USAF veteran . 

 

Welcome to one of the best sites in existence! You can help us figure out what is going on in your area of expertise. Accountants are extremely intelligent people. 

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which river is "toxic" on this image?

image.png.c16566e14ca65c610ce40e16fee34a95.png

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On 8/25/2019 at 5:51 PM, ronwagn said:

I always thought that North Korea was a puppet of China and threatened by both them and Russia with which they also share a border. I don't see any other option for them. They would be much better off aligned with South Korea and the West. 

It's a common US fallacy to think these folks are puppets. Koreans are exceptionally determined and have thousands of years resisting Japan and China. Korea has suffered many, many invasions from China, and some from Japan. The Japanese were absolutely brutal, outlawing the local culture and burning everything when it became clear they were losing. The Koreans plays us, and they know they are part of a bigger picture from a China/USA perspective. And in Cold War years, a CCCP one as well. 

I can't think of an area that shows why aligning with the US is better than the communists than Korea. An economic machine verses doing well not to starve.

China does use and abuse NK, cheap labor and a lever to niggle the USA. When I was stationed in Korea some of us used to think we were there to keep the south from going north. They certainly could have beaten NK, but there was the what would China do. MacArthur certainly underestimated the Chinese resolve.

Americans, we work like crazy. Only I've lived where Americans were outworked was Korea. I remember when they shifted from a 6 1/2 DAY work week to 6 days a week. Never cared for the Soju myself, but took to kimchi.

One of the largest semiconductor fabs in the USA, a Samsung fab, is visible from my office. They probably do a better protecting our IP than Apple. The old semiconductor mantra, only the paranoid survive.

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Thanks for your information John. I have never been to any part of Asia so have to honor your experience and your service. 

It just doesn't make sense to me though, that the leadership of North Korea would want to willingly choose an alliance with China and Russia over South Korea. My guess is that they think that an alliance with South Korea would end up with the dictatorship losing power. That they may not be all that interested in the well being of their own people. That is the way most dictators are. 

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On 9/6/2019 at 7:10 PM, ronwagn said:

My guess is that they think that an alliance with South Korea would end up with the dictatorship losing power. 

I think you are absolutely spot on here. 

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(edited)

3 hours ago, TomTom said:

Amanda Holden's buttocks. 

So, swings and roundabouts 

Edited by DayTrader

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On 8/22/2019 at 5:31 AM, ronwagn said:

NORTH Korea’s nuclear programme is feared to be leaking toxic waste which could be contaminating 400,000 people — risking cancer and horrible birth defects.

Although this leak is horrifying, the coverage repeats all the basic mistakes the media makes when covering spills of this sort - or perhaps not mistakes but standard efforts to beef up the story with references to how many people are likely to be exposed and so on. The fact that the spill goes into a river and then into the sea in itself doesn't mean much. The radiative material should dissipate into the ocean - it is a whole ocean after all - but if it affects some fishery at the mouth of the river, to take one example, and people eat the fish that is a potential for harm, depending on the size of the dose. A common response by authorities that actually care about their citizens - maybe not the authorities in North Korea - would then be to ban eating fish from the fishery, until radiation levels have been investigated. (Something like this  happened after Chernobyl although it involved sheep and cattle.) Authorities in the other countries mentioned should closely monitor fishery production. Dairy production from the region would also be an issue. 

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Sadly, North Korea won't do much for its people at all. Only the communist elites live well there. A peaceful agreement with South Korea would greatly benefit North Korea, but I still think they are restrained from that by China. Just my gut instinct. 

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TBH all mining operations produce tailing ponds, ALL, and sometimes those tailings spill, Barrick's gold mine in Catamarca province spilled cyanide over the river

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