Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Military Space News .

Subscribe free to our newsletters via your

N.Korea's mini 'H-bomb': a bigger bang?
By William ICKES, Simon STURDEE
Paris (AFP) Jan 6, 2016

US says evidence 'not consistent' with N. Korea H-bomb claim
Washington (AFP) Jan 6, 2016 - The White House on Wednesday rejected North Korea's claim of having successfully tested a hydrogen bomb for the first time.

"The initial analysis that has been conducted ... is not consistent with North Korea's claim of a successful hydrogen bomb test," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.

"There is nothing that has occurred in the last 24 hours that has caused the United States government to change our assessment of North Korea's technical and military capabilities," he added.

The North Korean claim was broadcast on state television in Pyongyang, which declared that the republic's first hydrogen bomb test" had been "successfully performed at 10:00 am (0130 GMT)."

"We have now joined the rank of advanced nuclear states," it said, adding that the test was of a miniaturized device.

Earnest said US President Barack Obama would speak later in the day with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Park Geun-Hye.

US Secretary of State John Kerry meanwhile said he had been in contact with his counterparts, reaffirming US security commitments to its allies in East Asia.

"This highly provocative act poses a grave threat to international peace and security and blatantly violates multiple UN Security Council resolutions," he said in a statement.

"We do not and will not accept North Korea as a nuclear armed state, and actions such as this latest test only strengthen our resolve," he said.

The United States will continue to work closely with the UN Security Council and countries that have engaged North Korea in nuclear talks "to take appropriate action," Kerry added, without elaborating on what that might be.

The UN Security Council was considering further sanctions against North Korea, which has conducted three previous nuclear tests since 2006 in defiance of UN resolutions.

Hydrogen bombs, which North Korea said Wednesday it tested for the first time, have a destructive power to dwarf even the nuclear weapons dropped on Japan in 1945.

If confirmed that North Korea did indeed carry out a successful test of a miniature version of such a device, this would put the impoverished hermit state in a select club of countries.

The relatively small size of the explosion makes experts sceptical that Pyongyang has mastered the technology, however.

- Fusion vs. fission -

The first kind of nuclear devices used were atomic bombs, like those used by the United States to flatten the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II, killing tens of thousands of people.

They work when a neutron collides with an atom's nucleus, a process called fission, releasing more neutrons and huge amounts of destructive energy.

A hydrogen (or thermonuclear) bomb starts off in the same way, but the extremely high temperatures -- many tens of thousands of degrees -- cause isotopes of hydrogen to "fusion" or join together, the same kind of reaction that powers the Sun.

The resulting blast creates a second fission stage that is many times the size of explosion created by the first. It must be measured in megatons -- equivalent to a million tonnes of TNT -- rather that the kiloton ranges seen in 1945.

The first US thermonuclear test was "Ivy Mike" in 1952 on the Enewetak atoll in the Marshall Islands. The Soviet Union responded with "Joe 19" in 1955.

Britain and France have both tested devices with yields exceeding two megatons, Britain in 1957 at Christmas Island and France in 1968 at Fangataufa Atoll, with China in 1967.

According to Hans Kristensen, a nuclear expert with the Federation of American Scientists, "the US, UK, and French only use thermonuclear. Russia mainly so but it might still have some lower-yield weapons that are single stage" or fission-only warheads.

He believes that India, Israel and Pakistan have also achieved single-stage fission capability, but Robert Kelley, an expert at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), told AFP: "Israel I think has gone beyond that."

Russia's 1961 "Tsar Bomba", the largest ever tested, created a 50-megaton explosion, 3,800 times more powerful than the 13 kilotons at Hiroshima, according to the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO).

- 'A thrilling sound' -

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un personally signed the order three weeks ago authorising the latest test, calling for 2016 to kick off with the "thrilling sound" of a hydrogen bomb explosion.

If North Korea has mastered the technology, it could conceivably develop weapons capable of reaching neighbours in Asia and possibly the United States.

It remains unclear whether it really did test a hydrogen bomb, experts say, not least due to the relatively small size of explosion detected.

Bruce Bennett, a senior defence analyst with the Rand Corporation, said if it was an H-bomb, then the detonation clearly failed -- at least the fusion stage.

"If it were a real H-bomb, the Richter scale reading should have been about a hundred times more powerful," Bennett told AFP.

Kelley, a former US nuclear weapons scientist, said that North Korea might have built a "boosted" bomb, basically "just a fission bomb with a little bit of a boost from a tiny amount of fusion" to create a bigger yield.

"This was almost certainly a boosted bomb but the premier of North Korea can get up and say it was a hydrogen bomb and who is going to correct him?" Kelley asked AFP.

But, he concluded: "It does not meet the criteria for a true thermonuclear or hydrogen bomb."

Thanks for being here;
We need your help. The SpaceDaily news network continues to grow but revenues have never been harder to maintain.

With the rise of Ad Blockers, and Facebook - our traditional revenue sources via quality network advertising continues to decline. And unlike so many other news sites, we don't have a paywall - with those annoying usernames and passwords.

Our news coverage takes time and effort to publish 365 days a year.

If you find our news sites informative and useful then please consider becoming a regular supporter or for now make a one off contribution.

SpaceDaily Contributor
$5 Billed Once

credit card or paypal
SpaceDaily Monthly Supporter
$5 Billed Monthly

paypal only


Related Links
Learn about nuclear weapons doctrine and defense at
Learn about missile defense at
All about missiles at
Learn about the Superpowers of the 21st Century at

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
China border residents evacuated after N. Korea test
Beijing (AFP) Jan 6, 2016
Chinese border residents were evacuated from buildings after feeling tremors from North Korea's nuclear test on Wednesday, state media reported. People near the frontier with North Korea "clearly felt tremors" on Wednesday morning after Pyongyang said it detonated a hydrogen bomb, state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV) said on a verified social media account. The areas include ... read more

Work on U.S. BMD complex in Poland expected to start in summer

Saudi intercepts missile fired from Yemen capital

Germany withdraws Patriot missiles from Turkey

Israeli missile interceptor passes final test

Lockheed Martin receives $528 million THAAD missile contract

Indian Navy test-fires long range surface-to-air missile

Lockheed Martin to supply 12 rocket systems to UAE

Iran has more missiles than it can hide: General

Tern moves closer to full-scale demonstration of VTOL UAVs for small ships

DARPA awards Northrop Grumman Phase III TERN contract

Drone helps icebreaker navigate treacherous Antarctic

Army unit retires Hunter unmanned aircraft systems

Raytheon to produce, test Navy Multiband Terminals

ADS to build one of two satellites for future COMSAT NG system

Thales and Airbus to supply French military satellite communications

Elbit upgrades tactical intelligence capabilities for Asian country

Russia's Uran-9 robotic combat system hits international market

Kongsberg receives CROWS program order

Turkey contracts Otokar for Cobra II armored vehicles

Forensic seismology tested on 2006 munitions depot 'cook-off' in Baghdad

Germany rethinking arms sales to Saudi Arabia

Germany warns Saudi Arabia it may review military exports

Pentagon needs to cut more civilian jobs, report finds

U.S., Russia dominate arms transfers to developing countries

China announces military reforms

'No reason' for Russia to view US as threat: Pentagon

PM Abe pledges to keep Japan out of war

Beijing rejects Vietnam protest over South China Sea landing

Building better fighter planes and space ships

Program seeks ability to assemble atom-sized pieces into practical products

New acoustic technique reveals structural information in nanoscale materials

Nanodevices at one-hundredth the cost

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2017 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement