MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) is on close watch of North Korea’s planned satellite rocket launch this week to ensure that the debris that would fall near Philippine waters would not contain any radioactive material.
PNRI Director Alumanda de la Rosa said the PNRI will activate its Radiation Monitoring Team under the Radiological Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan to “make some measurements to ensure that [the missile parts] are not radioactive debris.”
The PNRI official, however, stressed that there is no reason for the public to be alarmed of a possible nuclear threat since according to data gathered by the institute, no nuclear material are involved with the tests.
“According to information that we have, DPRK will only launch its satellite, but we will send our team to check if there may have been radioactive components present in the debris,” De la Rosa explained.
The United States and various allies have hinted in the past weeks that North Korea’s planned rocket launch is a ” ballistic missile test in disguise of a satellite launch.”
US officials have also warned that the rocket launch would be aimed at an area “roughly between Australia, Indonesia and the Philippines.”
De la Rosa said the PNRI would continue air measurements for any amount of radioactivity in Metro Manila before and after the North Korea rocket launches, but maintained that “it is the agency’s routine job to monitor daily the ambient gamma radiation in the air.”
The Philippine government has expressed concern over the purported missile test launches in the Korean peninsula, and has called it an “unacceptable” move on the part of the largely autocratic nation.
President Benigno Aquino III is currently in Camboadia to meet with fellow Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) leaders, who vowed to take up the matter following the Philippines’ diplomatic protest lodged against North Kroea.
Information gathered by the Department of Foreign Affairs states that the rocket’s first stage will reportedly separate and fall in a zone -140 kilometers west of Republic of Korea’s Byeonsan Peninsula, while the second stage is expected to fall in an area 190 kilometers east of Luzon.