11:12 GMT +321 July 2018
Listen Live
    A sales assistant watches TV sets broadcasting a news report on North Korea's nuclear test, in Seoul, January 6, 2016

    North Korea’s H-Bomb Test: Was It for Real?

    © REUTERS / Kim Hong-Ji
    Asia & Pacific
    Get short URL
    10512

    On Wednesday North Korea announced a “successful test” of a “miniaturized hydrogen bomb.” The UN Security Council has unanimously condemned the nuclear test as a clear violation of UNSC resolutions.

    What do we really need to know about Wednesday’s H-bomb test in North Korea?

    First off, a hydrogen bomb is way more powerful than an atomic bomb where large atoms, like plutonium, are broken into smaller ones.

    A hydrogen bomb uses fusion where small atoms, such as hydrogen, are fused together resulting in a weapon that is hundreds of times more powerful than an atomic bomb.

    In order to combine the small atoms and initiate a fusion reaction, such a bomb needs a large amount of energy. And that energy comes from an atomic bomb inside the hydrogen bomb.

    So, basically, a hydrogen bomb causes two separate explosions.

    North Korea has conducted three nuclear tests since it officially acknowledged its nuclear status in 2005. According to Russian estimates the plutonium bombs Pyongyang tested in 2006, 2009 and 2013 did not exceed 40 kilotons of TNT.

    In December 2015 North Korean leader Kim Jong-un said his country had built a hydrogen bomb which it would be ready to use to defend the country’s territorial integrity.

    Most experts are skeptical about Pyongyang’s claim that Wednesday’s test was of a hydrogen bomb, but it will take a few more days to analyze air samples and study data about the nature of the 5.1-magnitude earthquake detected near North Korea's Punggye Ri nuclear site.

    However, even a detailed analysis cannot say for sure whether the device Pyongyang tested on Wednesday was really a hydrogen bomb and not a regular, atomic one.

    Wednesday’s blast of what Pyongyang called its “H-bomb of justice” was less powerful than the plutonium-based atomic bomb it detonated in 2013,  raising doubts that North Korea has managed to build a massively more sophisticated and destructive weapon.

    “The initial analysis is not consistent with the North Korean claims of a successful hydrogen bomb test,” said White House spokesman Josh Earnest.

    In Moscow, nuclear expert Alexander Uvarov said that the relatively small power of Wednesday explosion – less than 6 kilotons – could have been the result of a failed hydrogen test.

    He added that North Korea could have actually tested a regular atomic device as part of its ongoing effort to develop a full-fledged hydrogen bomb.

    Related:

    UNSC to Hold Urgent Meeting on North Korea Testing Hydrogen Bomb - Source
    North Korea Piling Up Its Arms 'Because of US Nuclear Threat'
    Tags:
    Democratic Republic of North Korea (DPRK), atomic bomb, hydrogen bomb, seismic activity, test, analysis, UN Security Council, Josh Earnest, Alexander Uvarov, Kim Jong-un
    Community standardsDiscussion
    Comment via FacebookComment via Sputnik
    • Сomment