Source localisation and its uncertainty quantification after the third DPRK nuclear test

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Institutes & Expert groups

  • RMI - Royal Meteorological Institute of Belgium
  • UGent - Universiteit Gent

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• The International Monitoring System is being set up aiming to detect violations of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. Suspicious radioxenon detections were made by the International Monitoring System after the third announced nuclear test conducted by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK). In this paper, inverse atmospheric transport and dispersion modelling was applied to these detections, to determine the source location, the release term and its associated uncertainties. The DPRK nuclear test site was found to be a likely source location, though a second likely source region in East Asia was found by the inverse modelling, partly due to the radioxenon background from civilian sources. Therefore, techniques to indirectly assess the influence of the radioxenon background are suggested. In case of suspicious radioxenon detections after a man-made explosion, atmospheric transport and dispersion modelling is a powerful tool for assessing whether the explosion could have been nuclear or not.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jul 2018


  • CTBTO, ATM, Xe

ID: 4732638