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Nuclear test successful in N. Korea

  1. Oct 8, 2006 #1
    As reported by Yonhap News in South Korea, then again by the Associated Press

    http://english.yna.co.kr/Engnews/20061009/630000000020061009120733E4.html

    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.
     
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2006
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 8, 2006 #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.
     
  4. Oct 8, 2006 #3
    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).

    Seismic Monitoring (Los Alamos national lab)
     
  5. Oct 8, 2006 #4
    Japan moves to detect fallout (if any)

    http://home.kyodo.co.jp/modules/fstStory/index.php?storyid=275509
     
  6. Oct 8, 2006 #5
    Seismic activity detected, nuclear explosion yet to be confirmed:
    http://today.reuters.com/news/artic...RTH.xml&WTmodLoc=Home-C1-TopStories-newsOne-2
     
  7. Oct 8, 2006 #6
  8. Oct 8, 2006 #7
    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?
     
  9. Oct 9, 2006 #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.
     
  10. Oct 9, 2006 #9
    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.
     
  11. Oct 9, 2006 #10

    Astronuc

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    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
    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
    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:
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2006
  12. Oct 9, 2006 #11
    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.
     
  13. Oct 9, 2006 #12

    Astronuc

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    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.
     
  14. Oct 9, 2006 #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.
     
  15. Oct 9, 2006 #14
    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
     
  16. Oct 9, 2006 #15

    Evo

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  17. Oct 9, 2006 #16

    Astronuc

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    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.
     
  18. Oct 9, 2006 #17

    Bystander

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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.
     
  19. Oct 9, 2006 #18
    it's back...

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20061010/ap_on_el_ge/us_north_korea_politics

    Seems that anti-ballistic missiles are rocketing back up in Congress and neutralizing political threats. (Pity they don't neutralize real ones...)
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2006
  20. Oct 10, 2006 #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.
     
  21. Oct 10, 2006 #20

    Astronuc

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    An interesting perspective on NK's nuclear test.

    A Minute with Julian Palmore

     
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