Skip to comments.(LEAD) N. Korea completes preparations for nuclear test (tunnel sealed, cables out)
Posted on 01/23/2013 7:23:02 AM PST by TigerLikesRooster
2013/01/23 23:47 KST
(LEAD) N. Korea completes preparations for nuclear test
(ATTN: UPDATES in paras 1-6; CHANGES headline)
By Kim Eun-jung
SEOUL, Jan. 23 (Yonhap) -- North Korea has completed all technical preparations for a nuclear test and can carry it out in a few days if it makes a decision, a South Korean intelligence source said Wednesday.
North Korea had dug up a tunnel for a test at its Punggye-ri nuclear test site, but the tunnel has now been plugged with dirt and concrete, the source said, suggesting that all measuring and other equipment has already been installed inside.
In its Korean article, Yonhap News gives additional report that the cables are seen drawn out of the tunnel.
It’ll likely be a near fizzle... I believe modern seismology and satellite radiation sensors can determine a great deal about what was tested in such tests nowadays. I’d say, why try to stop them. When things go awry, that’s more scientists who will be fired, if not worse. Pretty soon there will be nobody left there to create these bombs any more.
A HEU gun-type bomb is much more idiot-proof than a plutonium implosion device; if they test I bet this one is pretty successful with a 15-20 kt yield, similar to the Hiroshima/Nagasaki bombs.
I think that's a very generous assumption to give the N.Koreans. I know many of the scientists they have forced into this mess are intelligent, but maybe it's from recent satire movies that I can just see them all dressed up and ready for the test. They push the button and nothing happens, only to realize they forgot to plug a couple things in before they sealed it with concrete.
That said the HEU device could be an implosion device as well; the experience with their two previous tests would be applicable to such a device (which is more efficient than a gun) and I still think they are likely to have a more successful test this time.
Even then, you can’t just use pure uranium if you want to get a good explosion rather than a hot meltdown. It has to be spiced up with other stuff to perk up the rate at which the newly created critical mass undergoes reaction. Norkie quality control stinks, to put it mildly. The other stuff is going to be the problem here. IMHO.
They did finally get a chunk of metal into orbit after several failures; they’re not COMPLETELY incompetent.
I’ve said before - N. Korean nuke sites are 500 miles to Beijing, and 10,000 miles to Los Angeles. Given proximity, and history, it is much more likely that a NORK Nuke would first be used on Beijing vs. Los Angeles
US strategic thinking about Korea should begin to reflect that.
They have probably learned enough to make this work.
Of course feeding their people would be a better project
Can’t be! We got the Norks to give up their HEU program, Madeleine Albright and Bill Clinton told me so.
Then again, maybe my memory is failing me...
How much help are the Norks receiving from the Iranians on this little project?
Shall we assume Iranians will be present for the test - with cash in hand?
Gun-type devices are pretty much fool proof. Not much need to test anything and a serious waste of expensive resources unless the Uranium is not weapons grade.
It takes a lot of technology to get an implosion-type device to work. My bet is they are testing one of those. Heck, we never tested our gun-type weapon. Hiroshima was the test. The very first nuclear detonation was an implosion device. We really needed to know if our design and technology was ready. The group at Los Alamos were quite confident Little Boy would work and decided to not test it and wast all that expensive weapons grade Oralloy.
A HEU gun-type bomb is much more idiot-proof than a plutonium implosion device; if they test I bet this one is pretty successful with a 15-20 kt yield, similar to the Hiroshima/Nagasaki bombs.”
You don’t even NEED to test a device with such a reliable design! We didn’t, in WWII - we just unloaded it on Nagasaki. The one we TESTED at Los Alamos was the plutonium implosion design.
“You dont even NEED to test a device with such a reliable design! We didnt, in WWII - we just unloaded it on Nagasaki. The one we TESTED at Los Alamos was the plutonium implosion design.”
My memory was wrong. Hiroshima was the U-235 one, Nagasaki was the PU-239 one.
HEU bombs can also be implosion-stye weapons.
Democrats are no longer supporters of a constitutional republic. Why should Americans care if one bunch of Communists obliterate another?
There is going to be a war. The enemy of my enemy is my friend.
You can expend ENORMOUS amounts of resources on cascaded gas centrifuges to separate the U235 from U238, or ENORMOUS amounts of resources in research, engineering, and precision machining a P239 implosion device. Why do both?
I’m more interested in how far they are from DC....
U235 is much easier to produce than plutonium.
There is a reason that China’s first bomb, South America’s bomb, India’s bomb, and Pakistan’s bomb were EU.
The primary benefit of a P239 bomb is they can be much smaller and boosted with fusion. If you goal is to blow up a city, you don’t need tactical weapons, just strategic.
Hence, why counties that have need for tactical nukes (e.g., US, Israel (shh!), England, and Russia) are the P239 business.
The arabs just want to nuke whole cities.
As I understand it... plutonium is a waste byproduct of light water and (esp.) breeder reactors. The primary challenge with plutonium is it cannot be processed like uranium, which which when bound to florine produces uranium hexaflouride gas suitable tor the centrifuge. The presence of plutonium240 interrupts the nuclear chain reaction because of high spontaneous fission rate (more neutron activity), thereby increasing risk of spontaneous detonation - a Bad Thing :-)
That's why Pu needs the implosion mechanism.
The Arabs/Koreans/other nuclear yahoos should be well-served with the U235 gun mechanism (and would of course be well-served by our assymetrical retaliation using U235 and Pu239-derived weapons).
The arab bomb design is not a gun mechanism.
It is an implosion device using U235.
Weird. I wonder why.
“Weird. I wonder why”
Because, while a U235 implosion device is larger than a comparable yield Plutonium bomb, it is much smaller than a gun-type weapon and requires far less U235 for a viable warhead.
In short, easier to deliver on a missle, can make more with less.
Not weird at all.
Thanks for the explanation. Makes perfect sense now.