Information about the alleged “underwater nuclear explosion” that occurred in the South China Sea began to spread a couple of days ago.
Any sane person having read that “the explosion occurred at a depth of 50 m and its power was 10 to 20 kilotons of TNT,” would immediately conclude that an explosion of such power at such a shallow depth would certainly cause a crushing tsunami wave, but there are no tsunami reports.
Let’s figure out where the “legs grow” from this “nuclear sensation.” Already in full swing there are speculations about the explosion of a submarine, naturally North Korean and that China (you just think about it) – detonated a nuclear bomb, destroyed the American dodger thereby showing the United States that it was ready for the Third World War.
The Chinese government did not secretly detonate tactical nuclear weapons in the South China Sea to send a warning signal to the United States, and no North Korean submarine exploded there either. There was no “surge in radiation” at all.
The source of this particular rumor is Hal Turner, a New Jersey far-right radio presenter and former FBI informant, activist of the Anti-Defamation League and Southern Poverty Alleviation Center (and who was once sentenced to more than three years in prison for calling for the murder of three federal judges ) A post on Turner’s website claimed that unidentified “military sources” reported that around 18:22 Eastern time on Wednesday, a nuclear explosion of some kind 50 meters below the surface of the South China Sea “caused an underwater shock wave of such a sudden presence and such force that the explosion itself “was supposed to be between 10 and 20 kilotons.” Later, an article on Turner’s website was updated to claim that the uRADMonitor global environmental monitoring network detected “significant” radiation readings on the southern coast of China near Zhangjia but also Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Turner suggested that the Chinese government blew up nuclear weapons to quietly send a signal to the US government that they were tired of interfering with the Chinese oppression of pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong, the ongoing US-Chinese trade war, or perhaps simply suggesting that World War III was already not far away.
This is such nonsense that intelligent people simply ignore. But thanks to a reference to the officially sounding and credible “global monitoring”, Turner’s statements attracted the attention of thousands of people on Twitter and began to be heavily circulated.
And this fiction began to spread like wildfire, having reached the open spaces of the Russian segment of the Internet.
Firstly, the uRADMonitor website records a supposedly “giant surge” of radiation at 0.24 microsievert per hour. This is about the same as the usual background in South India, parts of the southwestern United States and Mexico – this is an absolutely negligible amount of radiation.
For comparison, the World Nuclear Association estimates the global average natural background radiation level at 0.17-0.39 microsievert per hour. If a person were exposed to 0.24 microsievert per hour, this would be about 2100 microsievert per year, or a little more than two millisieverts. The United States sets an upper limit of safe occupational exposure of 50 millisieverts per year.
The “overwhelming” readings of uRADMonitor, in fact, reflect normal levels of background radiation, not to mention the fact that uRADMonitor is not a reliable source.
The readings of the radioactive particle detectors are posted on the RadNet Honolulu Environmental Protection Agency page, as well as on the Japanese radiation chart of the Japan Information Design Institute and there was nothing unusual (except for elevated levels in the area of the Fukushima nuclear power plant, but they have been there since 2011, when disaster happened.
Any specialist would laugh at the idea that someone could identify an underwater nuclear test with ground-based detectors.
The main way to detect such an event would be seismic; the world’s first underwater nuclear test, Baker’s 23-kt nuclear bomb on the Bikini Atoll in 1945, which was recorded by seismographs around the world. Nothing in this area was seismically active on Wednesday.
The standard way is a network of sounding stations around the world. They sense both underground explosions and underwater explosions, and even if you have a surface event, it will create a seismic signal at sea, which will be recorded by the stations. Nothing was recorded, simply because there was no explosion.
People should not believe a crazy blogger who says that completely insignificant readings of the radiation background indicate that China is going to start the Third World War.