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The Military News Politics

North Korea Claims It Detonated Its First Hydrogen Bomb (nytimes.com) 412

HughPickens.com writes: North Korea announced it has detonated its first hydrogen bomb, dramatically escalating the nuclear challenge from one of the world's most isolated and dangerous states. "This is the self-defensive measure we have to take to defend our right to live in the face of the nuclear threats and blackmail by the United States and to guarantee the security of the Korean Peninsula," said a North Korean announcer on the state-run network. "With this hydrogen bomb test, we have joined the major nuclear powers." The North's announcement came about an hour after detection devices around the world had picked up a 5.1 seismic event that South Korea said was 30 miles from the Punggye-ri site where the North has conducted nuclear tests in the past.

"North Korea's fourth test — in the context of repeated statements by U.S., Chinese, and South Korean leaders — throws down the gauntlet to the international community to go beyond paper resolutions and find a way to impose real costs on North Korea for pursuing this course of action," says Scott Snyder, a Korea expert at the Council on Foreign Relations. According to the NY Times, the test is bound to figure in the American presidential campaign, where several candidates have already cited the North's nuclear experimentation as evidence of American weakness — though they have not prescribed alternative strategies for choking off the program. The United States did not develop its first thermonuclear weapons — commonly known as hydrogen bombs — until 1952, seven years after the first and only use of nuclear weapons in wartime.

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North Korea Claims It Detonated Its First Hydrogen Bomb

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  • Meh. (Score:5, Funny)

    by msauve ( 701917 ) on Wednesday January 06, 2016 @08:42AM (#51247415)
    They popped a hydrogen filled balloon with a lit cigarette and declared success.
    • by gfxguy ( 98788 )
      I'd like to see the balloon big enough to cause a 5.1 earthquake!
      • by msauve ( 701917 )
        The North Korean test produced results similar in size to a past test they did of a fission bomb. Other than their claims, which have been known to be exaggerated (unicorns, anyone? [time.com]) there's nothing to indicate that the latest was in fact a thermonuclear bomb.
    • They popped a hydrogen filled balloon with a lit cigarette and declared success.

      Must have been quite a balloon to register 5.1 on the Richter scale !

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      I've noticed that the western media goes out of its way to portray North Korea as being a backwards country. For example, national TV is broadcast in high quality wide-screen PAL on the ground and 1080i via satellite. Japanese TV uses a pristine copy of the 1080i broadcast, but the western media like the BBC uses a low quality cropped to 4:3 version.

      I'd love to know why this is. It's very misleading. North Korea has access to modern tech, and a hydrogen bomb is well within their means. The testing is just f

      • It's not just the media itself, but the experts they hire and even people in high level positions of our own government don't seem to realize their government has the same computer technology and are in fact connected to the same internet we are.

        There's this belief that because the vast majority of their people are peasant farmers that somehow people in their government and science administration are completely inept.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        to portray North Korea as being a backwards country

        Because 99% of it is.

        For example, national TV is broadcast in high quality wide-screen PAL on the ground and 1080i via satellite

        Yes, and the less than 1% of the population who have a TV which can display it love the picture quality.

        I'd love to know why this is.

        Because there's only one "game" in the broadcast industry in their country, run by the government, and they get to use as much of the spectrum as they want for their TV.

        It's very misleading. North Korea has access to modern tech

        TV broadcasting and nukes, while both being "modern technology" are completely different kinds of technology. It's like saying "Well, they have indoor air conditioning, so they ought to be able to land a human on the M

    • They popped a hydrogen filled balloon with a lit cigarette and declared success.

      So you're saying junior great leader Kim has achieved the Holy Grail of energy research?

    • Re:Meh. (Score:5, Funny)

      by GrumpySteen ( 1250194 ) on Wednesday January 06, 2016 @12:49PM (#51249215)

      From the article:
      "an estimated explosive yield of six kilotons and a quake with a magnitude of 4.8 were detected Wednesday"

      Hmmm....

      One mole of Hydrogen will produce 241.8 kilojoules [wikipedia.org] of energy when burned.

      A kiloton explosion releases 4.184*10^12 joules [wikipedia.org], so we're looking at 2.51*10^13 joules for this explosion. That would require 1.04*10^8 moles of hydrogen.

      A mole of hydrogen is 22.4 liters, so that gives us 2.3*10^14 liters of hydrogen. That means the balloon had to be 230 cubic kilometers and, when popped, it would have sucked up all the oxygen in a surrounding area of about 547 cubic kilometers.

      This tells us one absolutely undeniable fact; I'm really fucking bored.

  • by liqu1d ( 4349325 ) on Wednesday January 06, 2016 @08:47AM (#51247433)
    By his divine power he created hydrogen from his bowel and light it setting the world alight in his glorious blaze. Praise the leader and death to the west.
  • by dywolf ( 2673597 ) on Wednesday January 06, 2016 @08:51AM (#51247449)

    We have sniffer/detector craft for just this reason.
    I wait until we hear confirmation before believing anything NK says.

    • seismic activity was confirmed by usgs (a 5.1 magnitude earthquake in the vicinity of a known Pyongyang nuclear site) before nk announcement actually .

      generally speaking while nk uses grandiloquent propagandist language, they don't lie about actual events like this.

      • by Antique Geekmeister ( 740220 ) on Wednesday January 06, 2016 @09:30AM (#51247673)

        If true, it's quite frightening. H bombs currently require multiple small A bombs to triggter, and the bomb casing is also typically made out of non-weapons grade uranium which reflects and focuses the A-bomb blasts onto the tritium and deuterium core. The result is far, far more radioactive uranium blown as vapor into the atmosphere than original US bomb designers were willing to admit, and a far larger radioactive fallout zone than the US was willing to admit before The Progressive published H-bomb details back in 1979.

        I remember that article when published: it was quite frightening, and revealed a number of long-published lies about how H-bombs were "cleaner" than A-bombs.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          I remember that article when published: it was quite frightening, and revealed a number of long-published lies about how H-bombs were "cleaner" than A-bombs.

          One H-bomb is dirtier than one A-bomb. But if you realize the same explosive power with (multiple) A-bombs, then you get something dirtier than a single H-bomb. So, for the damage it does, the H-bomb is cleaner.

        • Nope. (Score:5, Informative)

          by cirby ( 2599 ) on Wednesday January 06, 2016 @10:50AM (#51248215)

          If true, it's quite frightening. H bombs currently require multiple small A bombs to triggter, and the bomb casing is also typically made out of non-weapons grade uranium which reflects and focuses the A-bomb blasts onto the tritium and deuterium core.

          First, no, you don't need "multiple small A bombs to trigger" a fusion detonation. You need one. You can make multi-stage weapons like the Tsar Bomba, nobody seems to nowadays.

          Second, you can supposedly make the tamper out of a lot of different materials (even lead) - but even if you decided to use uranium, any country with a big enough program to make an A-bomb would have a crapload of uranium metal sitting around.

      • by Quantum gravity ( 2576857 ) on Wednesday January 06, 2016 @10:46AM (#51248173)
        A real hydrogen bomb is much more difficult to produce than an A-bomb. Experts are saying that what NK might have done is mixed a hydrogen isotope with a normal A-bomb. That would technically make it a hydrogen bomb, but not a true fusion bomb that starts a massive fusion reaction.
    • The news reports are saying it was between a magnitude 4.8 and 5.1 on the M scale (kinda like the Richter scale).

      This is remarkably similar to the 2013 test, which was also magnitude 5.1. The USGS has a nice summary plot of the 3 previous tests [usgs.gov]. All else being equal (namely, the coupling between the test tunnel and the surrounding rock), it looks like this test was about as big of a "pop" as the 2013 test.

    • Early satellite data is saying it was just an atomic bomb, the kind they have tested previously.

      Some experts' very early assessment was that North Korea's device may not have been a true hydrogen bomb, and might instead have been a simpler fission device that had been "boosted."

      NPR Story [npr.org]

    • by T.E.D. ( 34228 )

      The reports I was hearing contained a lot of skepticism. There are a lot of claims that it was likely just an A-bomb artificially boosted to make the explosion bigger so it looked like an H-bomb.

      Personally, I don't find that particularly reassuring. Whatever it was, it registered 5.1 on the Richter scale, which is more than enough to ruin the day of a lot of the 25.6 million people in Seoul.

  • Whether or not this is a factual reporting of North Korean H-bomb development, we are certainly rapidly approaching a time when some of the World's least desirable nations will possess doomsday weapons.

    As evidenced by early interviews with politicians, we are hamstrung in the US by partisan bickering, and cannot be counted on to fix this. The World will need to come together on this, or we're likely to affirm Fermi's Paradox.

    Though it is prudent to remember early reporting is often erroneous, It was repor

  • That North Korean astronaut that went to the sun and back in 4 hours [1] recently was obviously going to collect hydrogen for this device.

    [1] Yeah, yeah, I know the story was fabricated rather than being an official NK declaration.

  • by Rik Sweeney ( 471717 ) on Wednesday January 06, 2016 @09:22AM (#51247641) Homepage

    As soon as North Korea starts getting a little excited and starts sabre rattling and threatening other countries, China will tell them to shut the fuck up or they'll withdraw aid.

    • And if they do, Kim Jong-un will start pointing their shit down to South Korea. He's batshit crazy enough to attempt it.

      I wouldn't downplay the situation.

    • Of all the comments (so far) you are the only one who seems to understand why NK rattles sabres on a regular basis...for aid.
      Having read parts of their founder's "manifesto" I don't panic every time they light off rounds at SK. They just need to save face while at the same time asking for food.

      If this is a real nuclear device, it might change things a bit, but if NK were to ever *really* decide to invade SK, they won't start with a show of force and theatrics, they'll just do it.

  • North Korea is trying to save the planet.
  • NK is short on currency and demand for nukes is high in the middle east.
  • No they didn't. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by goodmanj ( 234846 ) on Wednesday January 06, 2016 @10:51AM (#51248223)

    Nuclear weapons create earthquakes, and you can roughly estimate the size of the bomb from the magnitude of the earthquake. In this case, we're looking at a 5.1 magnitude quake:

    http://earthquake.usgs.gov/ear... [usgs.gov]

    There's an empirical law for calculating the size of an underground nuclear blast from the magnitude of the earthquake.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

    This law is a little sketchy (earthquake size depends on how tightly the bomb is packed into the ground), but taking it at face value I calculate a 45 kiloton blast. That's nowhere near a true fusion H-bomb (typically hundreds of kilotons up to megatons): it's consistent with a large fission bomb, a boosted fission [wikipedia.org] weapon, or a failed fusion test, where the fusion secondary failed to ignite.

  • by dmgxmichael ( 1219692 ) on Wednesday January 06, 2016 @10:51AM (#51248225) Homepage
    This April we are holding our annual war games with South Korea. We expect North Korea to rattle it's sabers and embarrass you again while this exercise is conducted. We propose the following: Approach the leadership of North Korea with helping them conduct a war game of their own. Get a couple hundred divisions of your army into Pyong Yang under those pretenses, then capture or kill Kim and destroy his regime before he even realizes what's happening. Allow the South Korean army to take over the north and in exchange we will completely withdraw all troops from the Korean peninsula.
  • Not-so-lil Kim and his cronies are playing with fire here.
    If they think the US is going to accept their psychotic little cult-of-personality kleptocracy developing nuclear capability and the ability to actually lob one into the US, they're even nuttier than they've been reported to be.

    It's as if they're begging to be carpet-bombed back into the stone age.

  • It's long been said that nuclear weapons are the first mechanisms of peace in human history. So I'm willing to say that I hope this is a good thing. I hope that, like everyone else, north korea doesn't wind up using it for anything more than garnering respect for their own sovereignty.

    I do find it upsetting, disappointing, and just plain odd that the U.S.A. would try to stop a country from developing a technology that the U.S.A. developed 65 years ago. It would seem to be a futile effort. Obviously they

  • Christmas is over, and Kim Jong-un didn't get any presents from the west. He knows we're all real busy, so it probably just slipped our minds. So this is his discreet way of reminding us that, even though he's atheist, he still appreciates Christmas gifts.

    North Korea does this every few years. Next there's a lot of diplomacy, we give them lots of food and money, and they promise to never ever, ever, do another nuclear test again. Pinky swear.

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