Nuclear North Korea Not

New Scientist and others are already casting doubts on whether North Korea really did detonate a nuclear device underground on Monday. The magazine points to discrepancies in the reporting of the size of the explosion as hinting that NK may have simply detonated a massive cache of conventional explosive in the hope of simulating the effects of a nuclear device.

The magazine says that the Korea Earthquake Research Centre in South Korea reported a 3.58-magnitude tremor from North Korea’s North Hamgyong province, which is equivalent to a 800 tonnes of TNT, but the Russian defence minister says the explosion was closer to 5000-15000 tonnes. By contrast, the Hiroshima bomb was estimated at 15 kilotonnes.

Scientists are frantically analysing the seismographic evidence and assessing whether or not this could have been a large conventional explosion, a failed nuclear detonation, or the claimed success that North Korea’s smiling TV correspondent claimed.

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5 thoughts on “Nuclear North Korea Not

  1. Associated Press today reports that air samples collected after the explosion contain radioactive particles.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061016/ap_on_go_ca_st_pe/us_nkorea_test

    This would suggest that wishful thinking on the part of the RoW was just that, wishful, and N Korea does indeed have nuclear capability.

    That said, there is some speculation that the source of this information is not necessarily reliable. It has also been suggested that NK may have used a so-called dirty bomb to simulate a nuclear explosion. A dirty bomb is a conventional explosive that jetisons radioactive material packed around it. The radioactive material is dispersed but is not involved in a nuclear explosion.

  2. According to breaking news on the BBC, George Dubya has said that North Korea will face “serious repercussions” because of its claim to have carried out a nuclear test.

    But, what if it turns out that it was just a gigantic underground firecracker and it was bluffing all the time trying to play “big boys” games, is it it still destined to gets its wrists slapped, or worse? And, what of Israel’s concerns that if the NK’s have gone nuclear that they might help out Iran…?

  3. Sniffer planes should be able to use sensors to detect even the tiniest fallout particles and so reveal whether it was a Pu or a U bomb. we’ll have to wait and see. I suspect that the full scientific truth will not out, as politics will get in the way, so we may never know. One thing’s for certain the global response to this incident will send a clear signal to how far other almost-ready nations might be able to push the nuclear boundaries.

  4. Has it been determined if North Koreas test used Plutonium or Uranium. It would help determine if the test was actually a low yield dud.

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