Monday, October 09, 2006

So North Korea has the bomb....

.... Or does it?

They're claiming they do, we've long assumed they do, and yesterday's supposed test would seem to support that.

But the estimated yield is small enough (as little as half a kiloton, maybe as big as a kiloton), that two alternate possibilities suggest themselves:

1. It's a fake. I suggested this last week, when NK first started saying it would test a nuke. Could NK simply have blown off a thousand tons of TNT? It was an underground explosion, after all, so the amount of direct evidence will be limited. There might not even be any release of radioactive particles, which would be the best evidence that the bomb was, in fact, a nuke -- although even that might be spoofable.

And there is precedent for it, although the earlier case involved an open-air explosion easily proven to be nonnuclear. (h/t: Adventures of Chester)

2. It was a dud. Note the comments thread, too, where other people raise the "pile of TNT" theory.

Here's a guy who discusses why the test could have been a success even at 1 kiloton.

So it appears that we don't yet know enough about what actually happened to decide what to do. I bet NK is gathering all sorts of useful data on the world's reaction, though.

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can read Kim Jong Il's application for membership in the Nuclear Club at http://road-dave.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!15F30E7F138DBB88!303.entry

10/09/2006 5:51 PM  

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