Nuclear test successful in N. Korea

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  • #1
Rach3
As reported by http://english.yna.co.kr/Engnews/20061009/630000000020061009120733E4.html [Broken]

2006/10/09 12:07 KST

N. Korea claims success in nuclear test

SEOUL, Oct. 9 (Yonhap) -- North Korea announced Monday that it successfully conducted an underground nuclear test.

In a report by the North's official Korean Central News Agency, the communist regime said the test earlier Monday was carried out safely and successfully.

"The nuclear test was conducted by 100 percent of our wisdom and technology," it said.

There was no danger including leaks of radioactivity, it added.
http://english.yna.co.kr/Engnews/20061009/630000000020061009120733E4.html [Broken]

edit: I replaced several posts and Associated Press articles, with the original source from YONHAP news in South Korea. I'm very frustrated with the AP's habit of editing their press releases repeatedly and without warning.
 
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  • #2
Ivan Seeking
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maybe there was a nuclear test... Wouldn't the USGS have detected it? So far they are saying that they have seen no activity in N. Korea.
 
  • #3
Rach3
Presumably U.S., Japanese, and South Korean officials will confirm this in a few minutes, based on seismological measurements. (Unless it's a false alarm, of course).

http://www.llnl.gov/str/Walter.html (Los Alamos national lab)
 
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  • #4
Rach3
Japan moves to detect fallout (if any)

Monitoring sites to gauge radioactivity from N. Korean nuke test
TOKYO, Oct. 7 KYODO

The government has decided to order monitoring facilities across Japan to measure the quantity of radioactive substances and levels of radioactive rays if North Korea conducts a nuclear test, officials said Saturday.

Prefectural governments across the nation would be instructed to use their existing monitoring facilities to measure the quantities of particles of such radioactive substances as cesium 137 and strontium 90, according to the officials at the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology.
http://home.kyodo.co.jp/modules/fstStory/index.php?storyid=275509
 
  • #5
Rach3
Seismic activity detected, nuclear explosion yet to be confirmed:
Reuters said:
South Korea's presidential Blue House said a tremor had been detected in North Korea on Monday.

It said South Korea's Institute of Geoscience and Mineral Resources had detected a tremor of a magnitude 3.58 to 3.7 at 0135 GMT.

Officials in neighboring Japan and China had no immediate comment on the reports.
http://today.reuters.com/news/artic...RTH.xml&WTmodLoc=Home-C1-TopStories-newsOne-2
 
  • #6
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The biggest danger here is the hit that the Asian stock maket just took.
Kinda makes me wonder what the U.S. markets will do. The price of oil jumped $6 when the idiot NK's launched 5 missiles. The Chinese need to quit sending food and resourses to NK.

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=ab4PmeX6l8dA&refer=home [Broken]
 
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  • #7
Rach3
N. Korea Reports 1st Nuclear Arms Test

American officials cautioned that they had not yet received any confirmation that the test had occurred. The United States Geological Survey said it had detected a tremor of 4.2 magnitude on the Korean Peninsula.
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/09/w...&en=a491b0fad3e8d82b&ei=5094&partner=homepage

A straightforward logarithm based on the Richter scale gives us 4.2 mag ~ 2 kilotons TNT, which is puny by itself, but I have no idea what fraction of the underground explosion this is that goes into seismic waves. Anyone know about this? And do we expect nuclear tests to be scaled down?
 
  • #8
Testing a nuclear device is calling for trouble, especially from the USA. It isn't in N Korea's interests to pretend to test nuclear weapons.
 
  • #9
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MeJennifer said:
Well N. Korea is most certainly not the first country to perform nuclear tests. :smile:
If I am not mistaken the US was the first country to perform such a test about more than half a century ago. Furthermore the USA was the only country that actually used nuclear weapons to kill human beings, talking about using weapons of mass destruction.

From wikipedia we get:

United States: 1,054 tests
Soviet Union: 715 tests
France: 210 tests
United Kingdom: 45 tests
China: 45 tests
India: between 5 and 6 tests
Pakistan: between 3 and 6 tests
Of those countries only India and Pakistan are not signatories to the COmprehensive Test Ban Treaty. The treaty was never ratified by the US Senate, but Clinton nonethless imposed a testing moratorium in accordance with the treaty which has continued to this day.

However, none of that is relevant.


What is relevant are the reactions of Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. If they (especially Japan and Taiwan) decide they need nuclear weapons now to protect themselves, the whole region could be dangerously destabilized. Do you think China will tolerate Taiwan as a nuclear power? Or Japan? This could well set off an arms race in Asia, which is much more dangerous than North Korea having less than a dozen warheads.
 
  • #10
Astronuc
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siddharth said:
Even though the information available may have been faulty, and even if it was a war, I think the decision was effectively instant mass murder.
Well, unfortunately, the major powers at the time did adopt a policy of bombing major cities which were largely civilian populations. Germany bombed various European cities, espeically London. When the RAF effectively curtailed the Luftwaffe activity, Germany resorted to missiles - V-1 and V-2.

The US and Britain (allies) began saturation (carpet) bombing of German cities. The use of the atomic bomb made it possible for one plane to do what it would take 1000-2000 planes to do with conventional explosives or incendiary bombs, which the US did use on Tokyo and other cities.


Anyway, it appears that USGS has a record -

Mag 4.2 (Light) - http://earthquake.usgs.gov/eqcenter/recenteqsww/Quakes/ustqab.php [Broken]
Date-Time Monday, October 9, 2006 at 01:35:27 (UTC) = Coordinated Universal Time
Monday, October 9, 2006 at 10:35:27 AM = local time at epicenter

Location: 41.294°N, 129.134°E
Depth: 0 km (~0 mile) - i.e. relatively shallow

Distances:
70 km (40 miles) N of Kimchaek, North Korea
90 km (55 miles) SW of Chongjin, North Korea
180 km (115 miles) S of Yanji, Jilin, China
385 km (240 miles) NE of PYONGYANG, North Korea

----------------------------------------------------

Outcry at N Korea 'nuclear test'
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/6033457.stm
North Korea's claim that it has successfully tested a nuclear weapon has sparked international condemnation. The White House called for a swift response from the UN Security Council, calling Pyongyang's move "provocative".

Japan and South Korea also condemned the test and even Pyongyang's closest ally China expressed its "resolute opposition", calling the move "brazen".

Diplomats say there will be an emergency Security Council meeting on the issue shortly.

The underground test, which South Korean media said took place in Gilju in Hamgyong province at 1036 (0136 GMT), has still to be confirmed.

But both the US and Japan said they had detected seismic waves. Russia said it was "100% certain" a nuclear test had occurred.

The size of the bomb is uncertain. South Korean reports put it as low as 550 tons of destructive power but Russia said it was between five and 15 kilotons. The 1945 Hiroshima bomb was 12.5-15 kilotons.

BBC diplomatic correspondent Jonathan Marcus says North Korea's claimed test does not necessarily mean it has a fully-fledged nuclear bomb or warhead that it can deliver to a target.
Test sparks Asian arms race fears
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/5414308.stm

N Korea test a blow to diplomacy
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/6032857.stm

-----------------------------------------------------

Well, George Bush's tough talk didn't work.

So I guess he will want to go in - guns blazing like in Iraq. Oh right, Bush will want to send in others with guns blazing while he sits safely at home being the 'war time' president. :rolleyes:
 
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  • #11
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Is there any way to actually confirm that a test has taken place?

Or do we simply have to accept the circumstantial evidence at face value?

I'll be interested to see how the UN reacts.
 
  • #12
Astronuc
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ptabor said:
Is there any way to actually confirm that a test has taken place?

Or do we simply have to accept the circumstantial evidence at face value?

I'll be interested to see how the UN reacts.
China, S Korea, US, EU, UN, Russia, will all try to verify the test. It certainly looks like they accomplished the test. Of course, they could have detonated ~1 kT of TNT. Apparently no fall out was detected. If one checks the USGS link, one can find a map that shows that the 4.2 mag event is the only one in that region going back as long as records are available. Earthquakes, even small ones, apparently just don't happen there.

The best way to verify it would be to go to the site and detect fission products and radionuclides from the activated elements. Aside from that, unless one has gamma or neutrino detectors in place, it would be difficult to confirm. Maybe the US (or other entity) has a satellite (e.g. gamma/X-ray) detector in place.
 
  • #13
russ_watters
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One thing I'm not sure of here, and you probably know: isn't there a typical - even a minimum - yield for a first generation nuke? Ie, doesn't it have to be between about 5 and 15 kt?

Also, I've heard - but again don't know for sure - that a big pile of tnt doesn't explode very well and because of that makes a pretty poor fake-nuke test. The seismographs should show it.
 
  • #14
devil-fire
i wouldn't be surprised if NK would try to explode a few kilotons of TNT (or some other explosive) for the sake of claiming to have nuclear power. i don't think they would have any problem with denying foreign nationals access to the site to prevent confirmation

however, as said above, i don't think conventional explosives would produce the same effect.



IMO. the issue of usa's nuclear arsenal is really a whole other topic for another thread. i would even go so far as to say another forum since the subject has only involved political history so far and not current issues like disarmament or new nuclear testing
 
  • #15
Evo
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  • #16
Astronuc
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russ_watters said:
One thing I'm not sure of here, and you probably know: isn't there a typical - even a minimum - yield for a first generation nuke? Ie, doesn't it have to be between about 5 and 15 kt?

Also, I've heard - but again don't know for sure - that a big pile of tnt doesn't explode very well and because of that makes a pretty poor fake-nuke test. The seismographs should show it.
Correct - my response is here.
https://www.physicsforums.com/showpost.php?p=1107384&postcount=13

Apparently the Russians now claim that the NK test was around 15kT, while SKorea reported an estimate of ~0.5 kT.

Also, apprently no radiation was detected, which makes it hard to confirm a nuclear test. Access to site would be required, and the NKs are not very cooperative in this regard.

Nevertheless it is troublesome.
 
  • #17
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Shoot a big pile of TNT from one cap? Yeah, takes forever. Wire it with a couple thousand caps? It'll do a pretty decent imitation of the impulse.
 
  • #18
Rach3
it's back...

House Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, accused Democrats of standing in the way of work on a missile defense program. "It is now clear that such a position would weaken America's national defense and put Americans in danger," he said.

"Sherrod Brown's far left national security positions more troubling in light of North Korean missile test," the Senate Republicans' campaign committee said in a release that claims Brown voted a dozen times since 1993 to cut funding for ballistic missile defense.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061010/ap_on_el_ge/us_north_korea_politics [Broken]

Seems that anti-ballistic missiles are rocketing back up in Congress and neutralizing political threats. (Pity they don't neutralize real ones...)
 
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  • #19
Astronuc
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Assuming that there could be an effective anti-missile missle (so far the tests have been failures - although the criterion were changed to make them 'successful'), Americans would still be at risk, and there would be a false sense of security until another major attack.

The laser based interceptors currently stand a better chance, but to be effective, they have to be airborne. Perhaps, it will be a belt and suspenders approach, interceptor missile with laser back up.

Besides, there are ways around both defenses. :rolleyes:

Ballistic missiles from NK are more a threat to Asia.
 
  • #20
Astronuc
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An interesting perspective on NK's nuclear test.

http://www.uiuc.edu/minutewith/julianpalmore.html [Broken]

On Oct. 9, North Korea announced it had conducted an underground test of a nuclear device. The claim triggered renewed speculation about how a successful test might affect the balance of power in Asia and throughout the world. Julian Palmore, director of the UI’s Program in Arms Control, Disarmament and International Security, discussed the situation prior to his participation Oct. 12-15 at a Wilton Park conference on “The Future of Nuclear Deterrence in the North Atlantic Alliance” in Steyning, West Sussex, United Kingdom.

First of all, how are outside observers able to determine whether or not the test was actually a success?

Seismic activity is one way to determine that an underground explosion occurred at a particular time and in a particular region. The signal generated by the explosion can be detected at many locations around the world, and by analysis, the magnitude of the event and the approximate location can be determined. Different types of activity – such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, conventional explosions and nuclear explosions – have different signatures. Whether the explosion was actually due to a nuclear device could be determined by several methods. Any radiation leakage into the atmosphere could be detected, even at low levels. The type of radiation would immediately identify the type of fission device using either uranium or plutonium. The seismic signal, duration and magnitude itself would place the explosion on a scale, that – were it large enough – would separate conventional (non-nuclear) from nuclear. News reports have indicated an explosive yield of 500 tons (of TNT) to 12-15 kilotons (thousand tons of TNT). The largest conventional explosion was carried out at White Sands Missile Range years ago. It was a surface blast of about 3 to 5 kilotons intended to mimic the blast effect of a nuclear explosion. So a yield of 12-15 kilotons by itself would strongly suggest a nuclear blast.

If the North Koreans did indeed succeed at their goal, what are the some of the more immediate military and political ramifications – for Asia, as well as for the rest of the world?

First of all, a nuclear test is significant in that it shows the level of nuclear development that the North Koreans have achieved. Clearly, this test is a data point that can be used to clarify Western intelligence estimates of development timelines and levels of activities in enrichment and separation of nuclear materials such as plutonium. This is extremely important.

Secondly, it does not by itself imply the development of a nuclear weapon with delivery system. But it is enough to alarm the entire region: South Korea, Japan and other countries. Nuclear weapons carried on missiles have to be miniaturized and the rockets must be reliable. The missile program in North Korea has failed twice to demonstrate a long range capability: once in 1998 and again within the past year. In both cases, long-range rockets were tested and failed, falling into the sea. Their short range SCUD-type rockets have been tested extensively.

Thirdly, North Korea may claim to have now joined the “nuclear club,” but that remains to be seen. India and Pakistan have both developed nuclear (possibly thermonuclear) weapons and are recognized as members along with the United States, Britain, France, Russia and China.

What are your thoughts on how the world should respond to the situation?

There are several responses: diplomacy through the United Nations, imposition of sanctions, reducing energy supplies to North Korea and military action.

Diplomacy is an option, through the United Nations for economic sanctions, and for restarting the six-party talks that might be expanded to include other nations. Sanctions could be put in place to immediately impose economic restraints on North Korea. North Korea is a known proliferator of ballistic missiles so that can be further impeded through the Proliferation Security Initiative. China is in a critical position to interfere with North Korean activities by interrupting energy supplies, which it provides to North Korea. Such actions might lead to unintended counter actions on the part of the North Koreans.
 
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  • #21
russ_watters
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Astronuc said:
Assuming that there could be an effective anti-missile missle (so far the tests have been failures - although the criterion were changed to make them 'successful')...
Go Navy, beat Air Force!: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aegis_Ballistic_Missile_Defense_System
http://www.designation-systems.net/dusrm/m-161.html
http://www.defensetech.org/archives/001409.html [Broken]
We give the missile defense program a pretty hard time around here, especially when they don't even manage to pass their own dumbed-down tests. So give the Star Wars crowd some credit: one of their interceptors successfully downed a mock warhead on Thursday. It's "the fifth success in six such tests of the fledgling U.S. anti-missile shield's sea-based leg," according to Reuters. The ground-based component of the missile shield has, obviously, not performed nearly as well.
The Navy ABM systems have been highly successful in testing (largely because they are just updating already tried-and-true technology).

Obviously this system has one major drawback (range), fortunately that drawback can be countered by the fact that most enemies are within a few hundred miles of the ocean. A couple of destroyers or cruisers in the Sea of Japan will soon keep South Korea, Japan, and Hawaii well protected.
The laser based interceptors currently stand a better chance, but to be effective, they have to be airborne. Perhaps, it will be a belt and suspenders approach, interceptor missile with laser back up.
I have high hopes for the ABL as well, but they are also limited in range.
 
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  • #22
russ_watters
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Looks like the test may have fizzled: http://www.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/asiapcf/10/10/korea.nuclear.test/index.html [Broken]
The United States believes North Korea attempted to detonate a nuclear device and that "something went wrong," a U.S. government official told CNN Tuesday.

The official confirmed North Korea informed the Chinese government prior to the test that it would be a 4 kiloton nuclear device.

The official added that the unexpectedly small blast, of a half kiloton or less, indicated "something went wrong."
 
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  • #23
Astronuc
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russ_watters said:
Looks like the test may have fizzled:
I have been hearing much the same from many sources. The expectation was that it should have been several kT, and if it was 0.5kT, then something did go wrong, i.e. they didn't get the compression sufficiently high before dispersion.

Unfortunately, they'll have strong motivation to do another test. :rolleyes:
 

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