Skip to comments.N. Korea likely to test fusion-boosted fission bomb able to reach U.S.
Posted on 01/29/2013 2:15:42 PM PST by Strategerist
North Korea's next nuclear test could enable it to use a smaller, more sophisticated bomb mounted on a long-range ballistic missile to strike the U.S. mainland, Japanese government sources said.
Pyongyang will likely experiment with a fusion-boosted fission bomb in a "high-level" nuclear test it said would target the United States, according to the sources.
A fusion-boosted fission bomb induces nuclear fusion with slight nuclear fission, enabling more efficient nuclear fission. A fusion-boosted fission bomb can therefore be made about one-fourth the size of an ordinary nuclear bomb.
Either uranium or plutonium can be used to develop the bomb.
North Korea said Jan. 24 it will carry out a third nuclear test in opposition to a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning the launch of a long-range ballistic missile--that Pyongyang claimed to be a satellite--in December.
In a statement, the country's National Defense Commission said the "high-level" nuclear test, as well as the long-range rockets North Korea plans to fire, will be targeted at the United States, which it declares its enemy.
The Japanese government has concluded that North Korea is ready to test a fusion-boosted fission bomb, and sources said Pyongyang will be able to put it to practical use after a single test.
Japan has been monitoring North Korea's nuclear development program with the United States and other countries. It has analyzed nuclear-related materials North Korea has imported and nuclear-related facilities it has constructed or developed.
While North Korea's first nuclear test in 2006 resulted in an explosion equivalent to less than 1 kiloton of trinitrotoluene (TNT), the second test in 2009 generated an explosion of several kilotons.
In May 2010, North Korea also announced it had succeeded in achieving nuclear fusion.
According to Akihiro Kuroki, a managing director at the Institute of Energy Economics, Japan, a fusion-boosted fission bomb uses substantially smaller amounts of explosives and buffer materials than an ordinary nuclear bomb.
North Korea is believed to possess an atomic bomb similar to the one dropped on Nagasaki on Aug. 9, 1945, which weighed about five tons.
A successful test of a fusion-boosted fission bomb is expected to enable the reclusive communist country to reduce it to a little more than 1 ton.
North Korea is also developing an improved version of the Taepodong-2 long-range ballistic missile, which will be able to carry a nuclear bomb of between 800 kilograms and 1 ton.
North Korea is believed to have studied other countries' development of fusion-boosted fission bombs.
The United States first succeeded in testing an ordinary nuclear bomb in 1945 and is said to have developed a fusion-boosted fission bomb in 1956.
Keep in mind this was probably translated from Japanese, and could be written better; it's NOT saying the next North Korean nuclear test will be an actual warhead on a missile, just that the test could further their efforts towards having a warhead on a missile.
To be clear what is being discussed in the article is not what you think of in terms of a "hydrogen" bomb - it would not be a multi-megaton thermonuclear bomb, but a bomb where a small amount of fusion is used to enhance the efficiency and yield of a traditional fusion bomb. It would allow for further warhead miniaturization.
Is the white house throwing a party?
Yeah...like for an EMP???
edit...”enhance the yield of a traditional fission bomb.”
I don’t know if the White House is throwing a party, but the Missile Defense Agency probably is.
I think I have a better shot at building the Perpetual Motion Machine in my back yard than the NorKorComs have of solving nuclear fusion.
Thank you Hillary for another glaring failure.
With this guy in charge, it’s time to bring back this song. A friend of mine told me a few days ago that the clock was moved. I guess I missed the story.
With this guy neutering our military, the parody is kinda scary.
Forget about Republicans for a moment, does anybody think John Kennedy or FDR would have tolerated this **** for two seconds??
The tale of what Bill Clinton “sold” to the Chinese keeps growing in the telling.
We didn’t sell the Chinese nuclear bomb designs.
This wouldn’t be the development of a full-scale multi-stage thermonuclear weapon; it’s a slight modification to an implosion fission device (which the NORKs already have) basically putting some fusionable material in the middle of the imploding Pu or HEU to generate more neutrons and improve the fission explosion.
So when i was in Grad school 4 years ago, this mid-level Obama foreign policy functionary came to give a lecture talking about how their policy of "engagement" would be so much better than the obviously stupid Bush policies that failed to stop the DPRK nuke program.
The Clintons transferred all pending US
patent applications to the red Chinese for political cash.
How do you know what was in there? or in the rest?
OK. I’m not into nuclear science, don’t have the brains for it. So, what would be the range of this missile, as far as we know, and what would the impact of the detonation be? As far as we know.
The trick is injection tritium into the hollow pit of a fission device just before detonation. The intense fission reaction is sufficient to start fusion of the tritium and radically increase the yield both from added fusion energy and releasing a lot more neutrons further increasing the fission yield.
Pretty sure without looking that we figured how to do this before we figured out thermonukes.
IIRC, didn't the Chinese they have their man inside Los Alamos stealing the designs for the W88 and such miniaturized devices?
I recall lots of hand waving about what he did or did not steal. Sounded like a smoke screen to me.
Boosted fission bombs were developed well before the staged thermonuclear weapons. Boosted fission bombs were what the Eniwetok tests were about in 1950 or 51.
"The intense fission reaction is sufficient to start fusion of the tritium and radically increase the yield both from added fusion energy and releasing a lot more neutrons further increasing the fission yield."
I believe that this is also the physical basis underlying the practice of the "keg stand" as well.
Panic in Year Zero: Crazy Kick
Drawing a blank on "keg stand". never ran across that term before.
IIRC, tritium floods the core with neutrons which boosts the yield.
There was the GE Neutron Generator (going from memory of reading).
DOWNSIDE LEGACY AT TWO DEGREES OF PRESIDENT CLINTON
SECTION: BEHIND THE TREASON ALLEGATIONS
SUBSECTION: HAZEL OLEARY
I still say that the whole North Korean nuke program is a joke.
First explosion? Get 500 tons of TNT and blow it up!
Second explosion? Get 2X more!
Remember the first explosion when NO trace molecules for a nuke were seen leaking from the site, until the media notices and reported it, and then somehow they magically appeared?
I think that all the main nuke work and testing is occurring in Iran.
The rocket they launched is the delivery method. I believe they are shooting for a dozen-kiloton EMP 200 miles above the East Coast and are praying it will work.
It was Carter who gave Korea nuke technology - "for peaceful purposes only", of course.
NK just wants to make headlines and rattle sabers to blackmail the free world for more aid. I won’t lose sleep over this. But I do worry about their people.
If we responded to the Norks with 1,000 H-bombs, Korea wouldn’t look any different than it does now.
Sorry no. The one 1951 boosted fission test Greenhouse Item was a proof of concept test, no way related to a deployable weapon (it used cryogenic booster fuel)
The 1951 test was primarily to test the nuclear principles involved, and to gain research data, and it was not considered a design for a weaponizable device. Even as late as 1954, no boosted weapon had entered into the nuclear-weapons stockpile, and the only use for the Greenhouse Item nuclear test had been for its research results.
This is not a deployable lightweight weapon
The first operational US TNs (The Mk 15 and 17) entered in service in 1955.
The first boosted fission weapons (the W-34 and the TN W-28) in 1958
Comparison without BF: W-7Betty depth bomb 1955 30" dia 1000 lbs
With BF: W-34Lulu depth bomb 1958 17" dia 300lbs
Not the best way to do it. The Russians replaced the unstable tritium with nice stable lithium deuteride. I forget the exact mechanism, but I think the neutron flux and pressure of the fission explosion causes the Li of the LiD to convert to tritium, which then fuses per normal, yielding a bigger bang and a more stable warhead.
It looks like we have another opportunity to test our anti-missle systems!
But, Zer0, do you have the balls to shoot it down?
Boosting fission bombs, particularly where the pit is often removed may be a different matter. Not being a physicist, I could not say if you easily figure out the mechanics of stuffing solid Lithium Deuturide fuel capsule into a metallic Plutonium pit during manufacturing, or how well it would work.
Tritium being a gas, is easy to store by itself. Does not have a long shelf life, so needs to be renewed periodically. One of the problems being run into with our stockpile.
Since it can be injected quite easily into a hollow Pu pit, I gather that this is one of those "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" designs that has evolved in nukes.
If wrong, would love to read more, have read about this for longer than most Freepers have been alive. Sick fascination, perhaps, but I grew up with the duck and cover crap in schools.
Short answer: No.