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TOKYO -- Japan's Kyodo News, citing numerous diplomatic sources in Vienna, reported Saturday that the force of April 22's train explosion at the North's Ryonchon Station was about that of an earthquake measuring 3.6 on the Richter scale, which would have required about 800 tons of TNT -- about eight times that officially announced by North Korea.
The North's official Korean Central News Agency had previously reported that the destructive power of the blast was that of 100 tons of dynamite, and explained that the accident was caused by "the electrical contact caused by carelessness during the shunting of wagons loaded with ammonium nitrate fertilizer and tank wagons".
The CTBTO feels that the cause of the explosion may differ from the North's explanation, and noted the explosion might have been caused by highly-explosive materials like military-use fuel going off. Officials at the CTBTO plan to look into the causes of the accident.
The CTBTO said the explosion at Ryongchon was observed using seismological observation stations in Korea, Japan, the United States and Russia. The stations were built to detect nuclear tests.
6,350 homes were damaged in the resulting explosion; 1,850 homes and a dozen public buildings and were completely destroyed