RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT SAYS N. KOREAN NUCLEAR TEST USED PLUTONIUM AND WAS LARGER THAN EARLIER BLASTS

North Korean soldiers attend rally celebrating nuclear test / AP

by Bill Gertz

North Korea’s third underground nuclear test last month was fueled by plutonium and was not a device that used enriched uranium, according to the Russian government.

Retired Col. Gen. Viktor Yesin, a consultant to the Russian Defense Ministry and former commander of strategic nuclear forces, told the Washington Free Beaconthat Russia’s government had obtained new details of the Feb. 12 underground test.

Yesin said the North Koreans’ most recent test blast was “an implosion-type nuclear explosive device that used plutonium for fissile material.”

Additionally, the test produced a larger nuclear yield than Pyongyang’s two earlier tests.

“In comparison to its previous nuclear tests of 2006 and 2009, this time North Korea tested a more powerful nuclear explosive device,” Yesin said. “According to the Russian Ministry of Defense it had an estimated yield of 10 to 20 kiloton”—the equivalent of 10,000 to 20,000 tons of TNT, he said.

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