December 28, 2017 10:00
North Korean defectors who lived near the North's nuclear test site have tested positive for radiation exposure, the Unification Ministry said Wednesday.
The ministry checked 30 defectors for possible radiation exposure. But it is unclear whether the radiation in their bodies came from nuclear tests, it added.
Four of the 30 displayed a dose of radiation above 0.25 Gy, the minimum that can be detected in the human body through the measurement of stable chromosomal aberrations, according to the Korea Institute of Radiological and Medical Sciences.
Two of them showed a statistically significant dose.
One showed a dose as high as a 0.34 Gy, which suggests he was exposed to a variety of factors that can give rise to chromosomal aberrations. He lived in Punggye-ri, North Hamgyeong Province, when the regime conducted its first and second nuclear tests.
"We have too few test samples to single out a specific cause and too little information to find confounding variables," a ministry official admitted.
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