North Korea Says It Has Successfully Tested Hydrogen Bomb


#1

I know they have said a lot in the past before. This alerted me more then anything has before though.

abcnews.go.com/International/north-korea-successfully-tested-hydrogen-bomb-amid-earthquake/story?id=36109939

North Korea says it has successfully tested a hydrogen bomb as a magnitude 5.1 earthquake was measured in the country near the site of an earlier nuclear weapons test, officials said Tuesday night.

The tremblor was detected about 12 miles ENE of Sungjibaegam and the South Korean weather agency said indications were that it was “artificial.”


#2

Yeah, they have done this 3 times before, although I think this is the first time they tested an H-bomb, if in fact it is true.


#3

From what I understand, there is quite a bit of skepticism about whether or not this was a hydrogen bomb. Someone in our government that I saw a quote from earlier seemed to be quite skeptical that they even had a hydrogen bomb in North Korea. That said, I think they still need to verify what kind of bomb it was and as far as I know, they are in the process of doing that.


#4

I do not believe in the rhetoric from the video that “hydrogen bombs” are a “thousand” times more powerful than mere “atomic” bombs. The yields pure fission devices overlap with the yields of some thermonuclear warheads.

A thermonuclear weapon is invaluable because most of its yield is derived from the secondary, as it does not require fissile isotopes (which would be difficult to procure), but from common deuterium and lithium and the fast fissioning of the uranium tamper from the fast neutrons produced by the fusion of the lithium deuteride.

I do not know precisely the technical difficulties of a thermonuclear weapon, but one would involve making sure that the secondary does not prematurely explode. From a technical perspective, one should appreciate how difficult it is for the bomb designers to model the neutron flux from the exploded primary to the secondary (as those neutrons could prematurely trigger fusion of the lithium-deuteride) before the tamper is compressed ( as the tamper ablated away from the intense electromagnetic radiation from the primary).

Does North Korea want to be credible? They could give a rough estimate of the yield from the primary device if it successful and the theoretical yield from whatever secondary their bomb had. The sum of these two estimates could be compared with the yield from the nuclear test. If the test has a yield higher than what was expected from the primary alone and is congruent with the theoretical yield of the thermonuclear device, one can make an inference that they have some mastery of thermonuclear weapons.

I do not see a compelling reason for North Korea to lie about the test. A nuclear deterrent should be as credible as possible in order to deter aggression away from them. If North Korea is perceived to exaggerate its nuclear arsenal, its defensive capabilities would be dismissed.

What is a “hydrogen bomb”? It has to be something more than using some deuterium-tritium mixture to boost the primary. Maybe it did not use separate stages, but had a layercake design, like RDS-6, with a layer of lithium-deuteride outside the primary.


#5

It is the opposite. It is trying to GET the secondaries ( hydrogen) to fusion. A ‘hydrogen’ bomb uses a fission reaction effectively as the fuse. It has to be contained long enough to build up the pressures (first) and then the temperatures needed for the secondary fusion reaction to happen.

The timing alone is very precise, and if it is done incorrectly, the secondaries fail to explode.


#6

There was speculation among commentators on Fox this morning that, given the close ties between the PDRK and Iran, North Korea’s nuclear program is actually Iran’s nuclear program, and that this was actually Iran’s bomb that was tested. It would be interesting to read what the CIA knows about this program, but I’m not holding my breath waiting for the information to be released.


#7

North Korea has made various threats on an almost regular basis. Without going into what is known about hydrogen bombs, this test may have happened. But hydrogen bombs go way back. The equipment to detect them also goes way back. The “sniffer” goes back to World War II. If this test is confirmed, response scenarios will be reviewed, selected and fine-tuned.

Sadly, North Korea knows what will happen if it does not observe certain treaties or listen to warnings.

Ed


#8

The question is, would our Govt publicly confirm NK, Iran, etc actually has such a weapon, even if their tests did confirm it?

This may cause too much panic, especially for the worlds stock markets, its much easier to just make people believe they are all talk and do not have such a weapon.


#9

They will get yet another warning from the United Nations. Maybe President Obama will give another speech. They may receive more aid/bribes from the rest of the world. North Korean leadership may be crazy, but I don’t think they are worried about the world’s reaction.


#10

I experienced no panic during my years growing up during the Cold War. The US Government knew, as early as 1953, that things like H-Bombs were not practical. That even a “limited” war would cause not only immediate devastation but bad after-effects.

In October, 1964, China tested its first atomic bomb. The New York Times ran the story:

nytimes.com/learning/general/onthisday/big/1016.html

For those who missed the Cold War. The US and USSR both deployed nuclear ICBMs in 1959. In 1962, the Russians put some missiles on Cuba and the Cuban Missile Crisis began. President Kennedy came on TV to tell us that their use against us or their use against our Western European Allies would be viewed as an attack on the United States. World War III was a real possibility and Russia was a far bigger threat than North Korea. We went to bed and slept. Even as a boy, I had a good idea of what could happen.

Ed


#11

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