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NK Nuclear Test - Fission or Fizzle?

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posted on Oct, 10 2006 @ 03:27 PM
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CNN is hot on the heels of a Developing Story surrounding North Korea's recent attempt to detonate a Plutonium-based fission bomb. US sources have indicated that North Korea had intended to detonate a 4KT (4,000 Tons of TNT equivalent) device. Preliminary seismic data indicates a detonation of .5KT or less which would indicate a less-than-complete fission reaction or less-than-nominal detonation.
 



www.cnn.com
A U.S. government official confirmed to CNN that 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, indicates "something went wrong."


Please visit the link provided for the complete story.


One must wonder if this news will be used as a rationale for the current administration to claim that North Korea is not an imminent nuclear threat and maintain their focus on Iran and their yet-to-be developed nuclear weapons as a more imminent concern. Obviously, even a failed detonation on the part of North Korea would demonstrate a significantly more advanced nuclear program than that which is in progress in Iran, but it's almost election time and the spin doctors are pulling all-nighters these days.

I do have one question though. Understanding that a less-than-nominal detonation of a fission bomb means that the nuclear chain reaction began to occur prior to the optimal condensing of fissile material in the bomb's core and resulted in significant fissile material being ejected from the core instead of being part of the chain reaction, would the resultant fallout from a less-than-nominal detonation be significantly higher than that of a successful high-order detonation? If so, the mountain North Korea used for the test would be off limits for ages and they would be forced to either sacrifice technicians to conduct further tests at that location or abandon it alltogether in favor of another location.

[edit on 10-10-2006 by chaosrain]




posted on Oct, 10 2006 @ 04:30 PM
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I wonder how many people have forgotten the "nuclear test scare" before the 2004 presidential elections?

ATSNN: Mushroom Cloud Seen After N.Korea Explosion 9/9/04

There are way too many inconsistencies and timing issues with the way this story has developped for me personally to believe that NK is today a nuclear power to be feared.

Fool me once... uhhh... umm... can't get fooled again!

Don't you just love US election season? The fall colours, the harvest, the cooler temperatures, visions of mushroom clouds dancing in children's heads...

.



posted on Oct, 10 2006 @ 06:02 PM
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[I]Originally posted by Gools[/I]
There are way too many inconsistencies and timing issues with the way this story has developped for me personally to believe that NK is today a nuclear power to be feared.


Such as? Also, do you not think that North Korea might just perhaps want to influence the US elections too? Because what you are implying seems highly unlikely and irrational to me.

Now, North Korea is not a nuclear power, in that sense, so currently this does not make them that much more of a threat, militarily thst is, but they do have the means to give this know how to others, that includes both state and non state entities. A .5KT will still cause devastation if detonated next to the NY stock exchange for example.

And it is inevitable they will try and develop their technology further in order to make more powerful and compact bombs. So currently, no, they themselves are not a direct nuclear threat to the US but the future looks bleak.



posted on Oct, 10 2006 @ 06:25 PM
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Such as...

- NK announcing a successful test with "no radiation" - uh... yeah ok...

- This headline I saw on the BBC website at 2am EST Monday morning "US calls for UN Security Council to act on "povocative" NK test" ... at 2 am?

- The time it took to get confirmation with seismic data and the confusion about the magnitude of the "quake"

- I saw a promo last night for CNN who just happened to have a one hour show called something like "Behind the Scenes in NK" that just happened to be "in the can" and ready to air on the very day of the test.

- The all around lack of solid confirmation.

- And now the "backing off" by the western media of calling this a successful nuke test with the yield being lowered and now calling it a "dud".

etc...
.



posted on Oct, 10 2006 @ 06:25 PM
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I think it may be posible that they put a large amount of conventional explosives underground and detaonated them.

It is also possible that they could not sustain the fision reaction long enough to produce a large detonation. They said they used plutonium to fuel the bomb, if they had the only other things that could of gone wrong is that the HE around the core didnt explode correctly or they didnt have enough plutonium in the bomb. (they still would have to have enough to create a critical mass).

In either case....they are blatantly being provocative and bush needs to change his priorities.



posted on Oct, 10 2006 @ 07:01 PM
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And the hits just keep on coming...just released in the news:

North Korea May Have Conducted Second Test Today

Expanding on the possibility that the High Explosive (HE) which is typically used to trigger a collapse into critical mass of a quantity of Plutonium could have failed, consider this:

Maybe North Korea had (as many nations preceding them have) multiple designs for the HE shell on their device. The first test was using the first design and did not sufficiently compress the core and resulted in a less-than-nominal detonation. Perhaps this second test is utilizing a revised HE design and (as we will find our soon enough) could have either resulted in a nominal detonation or another fizzle.

Either way, kudos to the effort. Look at the steps in the U.S. Timeline of nuclear development:

July 16, 1945: The U.S. conducts the world's first nuclear test explosion near Alamogordo, New Mexico. Called the "Trinity" test, it explodes with a force equivalent to 18,000 tons of TNT.

August 6, 1945: U.S. nuclear program becomes public with the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, substantially contributing to the end of World War II.

This site provides some insight into the United States' testing program. It wasn't until 1951 that we started detonating nuclear weapons only a day or two apart...that's six years after the first successful test. North Korea's charging hard out of the gates.

And on another note, it is possible that the seismic signature picked up by South Korea today may not be a second test, but the collapsing of the mountain in which North Korea conducted their first test. This is pure speculation, however, as Kazakhstan's Semipalatinkst Test Site involved tunnels dug into natural mountain formations and there is no indication of geological instability or collapse due to the tests there.

**It seems that everyone's a bit edgy after NK's first test. It's a no-go on a second test. Japan felt a 5.8 Mag earthquake and thought it could be a follow-up test for NK.**
[edit on 10-10-2006 by chaosrain]

[edit on 10-10-2006 by chaosrain]

[edit on 10-10-2006 by chaosrain]



posted on Oct, 10 2006 @ 07:59 PM
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The Rest Of The Story


Originally posted by XphilesPhan
In either case....they are blatantly being provocative and bush needs to change his priorities.

Maybe his priorities are informed by information we don't have.



posted on Oct, 10 2006 @ 08:36 PM
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I also think that getting the HE detonation correct to sufficiently collapse the core would be the most likely problem. But why do we do TEST's class? To figure out problem's with our prototype.

What would be the biggest seller in the Middle East? Maybe smaller portable nuke's. Get 'em while they're hot: car N-bomb's! Then again, smaller is better for missile's too.

As far as the prez goes, He is badly shell shocked from the Iraq debacle. I kinda think it may have broken his will. Which is not good for us!



posted on Oct, 10 2006 @ 09:03 PM
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Originally posted by HimWhoHathAnEar
As far as the prez goes, He is badly shell shocked from the Iraq debacle. I kinda think it may have broken his will. Which is not good for us!


With his "stay the course" and anti "cut and run" policies, combined with the possibility of having to face a pretty hostile congress after the elections in November, I would suspect that Bush is girding for a fight both domestically and internationally instead of looking for somewhere to hide.

Some on this board have pointed to the deployment of the Eisenhower Carrier Battle Group (CBG) to the Persian Gulf as a harbinger of hostilities between the U.S. and Iran in the coming weeks. I don't think that only ATS'ers are concerned about the prospect either. Russia has been quite interested in the activities of both North Korea and Iran (as they are both good weapons customers) recently and "verified" a high-order detonation from North Korea's first test of somewhere between 15 and 20KT. It could be possible that they've got wind of an American intention to "stir the pot" with Iran prior to the elections and they're hoping that even if North Korea isn't capable of producing a high-order detonation, selling that intention and capability may go a long way to deter us from attacking Iran.

Of course, that logic is predicated on the fact that Bush will consider all options before him and make a decision based upon the facts at hand instead of flying headlong into a pre-conceived strategy created in a vaccuum devoid of political or diplomatic reality. Quite the leap of faith on the Russian's part, I think.



posted on Oct, 10 2006 @ 09:16 PM
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Some news articles I posted on another ATSNN article I got flack about.

Source

A U.S. government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity also because of political sensitivity of the situation, said the seismic event could have been a nuclear explosion, but its small size was making it difficult for authorities to pin down.

In their initial assessments, analysts believe the test appeared to be ``more of a fizzle than a pop,'' the official said.


And what I found on Reuters

Nuclear analyst Andrew Davies, from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, said if the North Korean test yield was only a kiloton, Pyongyang may be disappointed.
"A kiloton is a very low yield and would tend to suggest, I would have thought, that the device was not all they hoped it would be," Davies told Reuters.
"If a nuclear, plutonium bomb fizzles, you can still get one or two kilotons quite easily. You still get a significant energy release. But an efficient device will give you more like 20 (kilotons)."


It sure sounds like they jumped the gun to try to get more out of their "nuclear" capabilities.



posted on Oct, 10 2006 @ 09:31 PM
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Again, TEST's are done for a REASON! And they are testing ICBM's and Nuclear weapon's. They know exactly what an EMP is, unlike most American's.



posted on Oct, 10 2006 @ 10:55 PM
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Originally posted by Gools
I wonder how many people have forgotten the "nuclear test scare" before the 2004 presidential elections?

ATSNN: Mushroom Cloud Seen After N.Korea Explosion 9/9/04

There are way too many inconsistencies and timing issues with the way this story has developped for me personally to believe that NK is today a nuclear power to be feared.

Fool me once... uhhh... umm... can't get fooled again!

Don't you just love US election season? The fall colours, the harvest, the cooler temperatures, visions of mushroom clouds dancing in children's heads...

.


That explosion was from blasting a mountain IIRC not a nuclear test, and there was no coverup or conspiracy
I'll try to find a link and post if I can



Edit: here are some links

www.cnn.com...

www.smh.com.au...

www.msnbc.msn.com...





[edit on 10-10-2006 by warpboost]



posted on Oct, 11 2006 @ 10:45 AM
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So they launched some rockets (unsuccessfully). They created an underground explosion that, if it was nuclear, was a failure. They use language to wind up the west especially the US.......

They are provoking an overreaction with just enough physical evidence to have all the gun ho folks foaming at the mouth.

They will use any reaction, even sanctions as an excuse to escalate tensions. It's a game that NK is currently winning.

It's the usual. A dictator of an economically failed country. The citizens getting restless. Lets distract them with a war.......so how do they do that without looking like the "bad" guys at home. Easy : provoke the ever so easily provokable US.



posted on Oct, 11 2006 @ 12:32 PM
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For anyone interested this paper describes issues related to Plutonium contamination. Apparently, Plutonium gives off Alpha Radiation which is only harmful internally. Therefore, a low-order detonation which caused most of the Plutonium in a weapon's core to be shed would not constitute a significant hazard to protected individuals. As such, it is possible that North Korea could use this site again in the relatively near future for subsequent tests.



posted on Oct, 11 2006 @ 03:28 PM
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Originally posted by malcr

It's the usual. A dictator of an economically failed country. The citizens getting restless. Lets distract them with a war.......so how do they do that without looking like the "bad" guys at home. Easy : provoke the ever so easily provokable US.


That's an interesting thought. Reminds me of a movie I saw years ago, a tiny european country declared war on the US purely for the economic benefits of losing a war against America.

NK is a financial pariah in their neighborhood - Japan, South Korea and China have booming economies thanks to US consumerism, but NK is like the bastard child. It wouldn't surprise me if Kimmie is trying to force a war, just to surrender and let the US come in to rebuild. US and Multinational companies would be all over their cheap labor like a fat kid on a cupcake and in 10 years NK could be one of the wealthiest countries in Asia...

Could explain why they're trying to pass off a few hundred tons of TNT as a nuclear weapon.



posted on Oct, 11 2006 @ 05:23 PM
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While its quite possible that NK's detonation was a 'fizzle', its more likely that they had the good sense to set off a 'decoupled' detonation.

Decoupling involves detonating a nuclear device in an excavated chamber, as opposed to detonation in close proximity to rock. This technique 'muffles' any produced seismic shockwaves and was used during Cold War underground nuclear weapons tests.

Prior to the early 1960s Atmospheric Test Ban Treaty, UK nuclear scientists conducted many decoupling experiments (using non nuclear detonations), in order to aid their later verifications of Soviet underground nuclear weapons tests. Reports of these experiments (conducted under the codename Project ORPHEUS) can be read at the National Archive at Kew, London.

It is claimed (by the Federation of American Scientists, Global Security, and 6 former US Secretaries of Defense) that decoupling may muffle the seismic waves, produced by an underground nuclear detonation, by up to 70x.

The excavated test chamber need not be enormous for decoupling to be effective. Apparently a cavity with a radius of 28 metres and a depth of 1km will fully decouple a 1Kt detonation. The US demonstrated this technique in two tests conducted in salt domes at Chilton, Miss. during 1966.

If conducted in an underground salt dome, it is unlikely that radioactive gaseous by products of the detonation will reach the surface, which would make verification extremely difficult.

The recent claimed NK nuclear detonation not be a fizzle, it might be a successful decoupled 1-4Kt detonation.







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