DPRK’s Nukes

“He (Kim Jong-un) watched an H-bomb to be loaded into a new ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile).”
The report carried pictures of the leader inspecting the device. It described the weapon as “a multi-functional thermonuclear nuke with great destructive power which can be detonated even at high altitudes”.”
North Korea ‘has missile-ready nuclear weapon’
My studies of nuclear physics and a bit of history support the idea that North Korea could have an H-bomb. Obviously, they have fission bombs. That’s just the kindling for an H-bomb. Put enough hydrogen isotopes in close proximity and you get a bigger, more scalable big bang.

The reason fusion bombs/H-bombs were developed is because they scale better. Try harming the enemy with a single match and you won’t go far without a lot of fuel. Hydrogen isotopes are cheap and plentiful nuclear fuel. Fusion reactors produce plenty. The ocean contains plenty. It’s just a matter of geometry. The reason H-bombs scale and fusion bombs don’t is that fusion bombs require a chain-reaction with one fission releasing neutrons which may or may not trigger further reactions. It’s very inefficient and a lot of the nuclear fuel just gets scattered by the explosion instead of detonating. With an H-bomb, the trigger is just temperature and pressure. Even a small fission bomb can do that with a bit of containment and get nearly total fusion of the hydrogen fuel.

So, NK’s pitifully small nukes which may or may not reenter and work when riding an ICBM, are now a lot more dangerous because it’s easy to add a huge load of hydrogen along for the ride. The bigger bang is dangerous even from very high altitude. EMP and all that. Then there’s the little fact that it’s possible to reach 50-100 MT of TNT equivalent. Anything within 50-100 miles is toast around the blast. NK doesn’t even have to get close to a target.

I’d say we are another mile closer to pushing the panic-button of preemptive war. It’s one thing to humour a madman. It’s quite another to humour a madman who can kill millions at a stroke. Do you feel lucky that Kim won’t choose your city as a target? Do you feel lucky that if he launches a swarm of ICBMs to hide the lethal one that anti-missile defences will work? Do you feel lucky? At some point the risk/reward calculation will decide that the cost of not striking first is greater than the risk of striking first. NK’s aresenal is too small to wipe out every opponent so “Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD)” does not apply. “The best defence is a good offence.” does apply.

Oh, if you are one of those “white nationalists/supremacists” we’ve been reading about consider that USA and others developed fission bombs in two years back in the 1940s using vacuum tubes in computers, chalk boards, pencils and slide-rules. The H-bomb took a while longer. How long do you think it would take intelligent people today using any old personal computer capable of millions of times faster number-crunching? The guy has lots of scientists, engineers, computers, fission reactors, fission bombs, and hydrogen isotopes… Don’t hold your breath hoping that NK is not up to it. They are. It’s just a matter of time. I think the time is up.

So, we live in interesting times and it’s more interesting that both NK and the White House house psychopaths bent on holding onto power. It’s not a “Mexican standoff” if everyone is ready, willing and able to go to war. It’s war, short and brutal in the nuclear age. Even more interesting is that if nukes aren’t used millions will die almost certainly on the Korean peninsula. There are too many bombs and shells per square mile not to kill hundreds of thousands per day. With nukes, the result will just be a lot quicker and probably more localized. Like a fission bomb waiting for a triggering neutron, Korea is ready to blow. USA and others will be compelled to use nukes if NK does. Based on threats and capability, why wait? Certain death awaits. The only question is whether the renewed warfare will be limited to Korea. What will China, Russian, Syria and Iran do? They may all have nukes thanks to NK. “Use them or lose them” applies.

Good night. Hope for a normal sunrise.

UPDATE – Apparently, DPRK has successfully tested an H-bomb: “This appears to be the biggest and most successful nuclear test by North Korea to date. Initial estimates by the USGS that it reached magnitude 6.3, which would make it an order of magnitude greater than we have ever seen before.
It is probably no coincidence that on the same day KCNA released photographs of Kim Jong-un inspecting a so-called H-bomb, or a thermonuclear warhead, just hours before.”

See Kim inspects ‘nuclear warhead’: A picture decoded, and weep. Now, the world has another madman with H-bomb capability. One is too many. Don’t worry about whether or not he can deliver it on an ICBM. He can also deliver such a small thing in person, by boat, by plane, by submarine, by whatever … and he’s really short of cash. Know anyone nasty with $billions who would like to have one?

UPDATEUSGS reports the H-bomb or whatever it was as magnitude 6.3, much larger in yield than US WWII bombs, but physically smaller according to the pictures. I’ve seen the casings at Los Alamos… They were so large and heavy only a big bomber could carry one. NK’s shiny new gadget could be carried by a small plane, fishing boat, pickup truck,… let alone an ICBM from a mobile launcher. NK is now in the megaton range of TNT. $#!!!%%$#!

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
This entry was posted in politics, technology and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to DPRK’s Nukes

  1. oiaohm says:

    Kurkosdr welcome to how warped HTML 5 standard is. Yes sarcasm tag exists as a close tag. Since its a sarcasm it can only be closed not opened. so /sarcasm in html tag should not cause a browser error where sarcasm in a html tag should. There has been many applications to add a valid open sarcasm tag mostly to remove the stupidity of having to allow a close tag without a open for 1 particular word. Maybe by HTML 7.1 sarcasm tag might be valid.

    Some days reason some standards you wonder who was doing the proof reading.

  2. Kurkosdr says:

    It’s not a joke that WP really gets in the way of embedding any HTML/CSS in posts/comments.

    As it should. A tiny subset of HTML tags are ok, but WordPress is smart enough to not let people put entire webpages in their comments.

  3. Kurkosdr wrote, “There are no HTML 7.1 sarcasm tags, it was a joke.”

    It’s not a joke that WP really gets in the way of embedding any HTML/CSS in posts/comments.

  4. Kurkosdr says:

    There are no HTML 7.1 sarcasm tags, it was a joke.

  5. Deaf Spy wrote, “Why don’t you just get the source code and fix it, Robert?”

    It’s very large. Apparently, thousands of users figure it’s better left the way it is. I can’t change that but I can use different codes. I’ve looked at several codes, particularly ones with scripts for migrating the data. OTOH, I can do what I do with it as is…

  6. ram says:

    Atomic physics has moved on since WWII, almost as much as computer science. You would surprised what can be done today, although it is certainly not advertised for rather obvious reasons.

  7. Deaf Spy says:

    …the nonsense WordPress does. I’m in a constant battle with it…

    Why don’t you just get the source code and fix it, Robert? Do what you preach for, give an example how open source lets people fix other people’s crap. 🙂

  8. Kurkosdr wrote, “In case your browser doesn’t support the new HTML 7.1 sarcasm tags, that was that, although it appeared as an opinion in Gawker article.”

    Don’t blame browsers for some of the nonsense WordPress does. I’m in a constant battle with it to make HTML mean what HTML means.

  9. ram wrote, “One does not even require ANY (significantly) radioactive material.”

    That’s not true. As far as I know the only trigger for an H-bomb is another H-bomb or a fission bomb. Both require enriched uranium or plutonium, radioactive substances. If one has a fission reactor plutonium is easily obtained. It’s frequently a product of fission. Uranium is widely found in granite and other rocks and the processes for separating the isotopes is well known but expensive/bulky/slow. In principle, an H-bomb can be made from ordinary “heavy” hydrogen (deuterium), with or without lithium but tritium, which is radioactive, can also be used. I have no idea what NK is using but apparently it works and H-bombs can be relatively easily scaled up. For instance, one can take the fusion chamber and replicate it or just make it larger. It’s all rather easy once one has fission working.

  10. Kurkosdr says:

    The sensible solution, proposed more than once by the world’s smartest scientists, is almost total nuclear disarmament.

    I am sure egomaniacs like Kim Jong Un, Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping are seriously considering this proposal, and the USA and the rest of the democratic world must start voluntarily disarming to “show them they are serious about nuclear disarmament”.

    In case your browser doesn’t support the new HTML 7.1 sarcasm tags, that was that, although it appeared as an opinion in Gawker article.

  11. ram says:

    Thermo-nuclear weapons are surprisingly easy to make. One does not even require ANY (significantly) radioactive material. North Korea having thermo-nuclear weapons is no more dangerous than Israel, Pakistan, India, and a host of other countries having them. The sensible solution, proposed more than once by the world’s smartest scientists, is almost total nuclear disarmament.

    If the power used in building, and generated from permanently dismantling the world’s nuclear arsenal was used to supply power to the people, power would be free and too cheap to meter for the next 2000 years.

  12. Kurkosdr says:

    Do you feel lucky that Kim won’t choose your city as a target?

    Yes I do, because if the North Korean government launches a single Nuke against a single city in a NATO or NATO-friendly country, immediately afterwards a windfall of nukes will rain upon North Korea, turning every square meter of their territory into radioactive dust, and we all know that the Stay-Puft dictator boy is too fond of himself to let this happen.

    There is no mutually assured destruction here, just some damage to the West and the assured destruction of North Korea.

    But you see, Stay-Puft dictator boy thinks he can blackmail the West into giving his government more energy and food by threatening a nuclear war. It ain’t working. His smart predecessor was smart enough to secure food and energy from the West in exchange for North Korea not developing nuclear weapons (a win-win agreement for North Korea, since they got free stuff in exchange for doing nothing), and dictator boy was dumb enough to break this agreement, and he is now doubling on the stupid. He is inexperienced, dumb and unaware how the world works, but not dumb enough to start a nuclear war with the West and seal his fate.

  13. Grece says:

    Go ahead blame Trump, and then elaborate on how dear leader, is a righteous man for defending his nation.

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