North Korea nuclear test may have been twice as strong as first thought video

AFP

North Korea vows to accelerate its weapons programme in response to the "evil" sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council.

North Korea's powerful nuclear test this month may have been even stronger than first reported, equivalent to roughly 17 times the strength of the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima, according to a new analysis by a US monitoring think tank.

The September 3 test, its sixth and biggest, showed how much progress the country has made on its nuclear programme.

Estimates of the bomb's yield, or the amount of energy released by the blast, have ranged from South Korea's 50 kilotons to Japan's 160 kilotons, although some analysts have said the magnitude-6.3 of the earthquake caused by the detonation could put it into the "hundreds of kilotons." This would put it into the realm of thermonuclear weapons, supporting North Korea's claim that it had tested a hydrogen bomb.

The test came just after North Korea announced it had developed an H-bomb it had fitted to a missile.
KCNA

The test came just after North Korea announced it had developed an H-bomb it had fitted to a missile.

In comparison, the bomb detonated over Hiroshima in 1945 released about 15 kilotons of energy.

READ MORE: 
UN's toughest-ever sanctions against North Korea
Kim throws party, not missiles, for anniversary
North Korea threatens US over ambassador's 'hysteric fit' at UN
Why Kim wouldn't be irrational to use a nuclear bomb first
Trump needs a real North Korea strategy, and fast

The new analysis by 38 North, run by the US-Korea Institute at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, found North Korea's test may have been much stronger.

A monitoring director of South Korea's National Earthquake and Volcano Centre shows seismic waves taking place in North ...
GETTY IMAGES

A monitoring director of South Korea's National Earthquake and Volcano Centre shows seismic waves taking place in North Korea after the test.

Updated seismic data showed the magnitude of the resulting earthquake was greater than initial estimates - between 6.1 and 6.3. That means the yield of the latest test was roughly 250 kilotons, reported 38 North's Frank Pabian, Joseph Bermudez and Jack Liu.

In other words, the North Korean test may have been almost 17 times stronger than the bomb detonated over Hiroshima. This is close to what 38 North previously calculated as the maximum yield that could be contained at the underground Punggye Ri test site.

This new estimate by 38 North is much higher than initial estimates from US intelligence sources and allies. The United States intelligence assessment put the blast at 140 kilotons.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at a celebration for nuclear scientists and engineers who contributed to the hydrogen ...
KCNA

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at a celebration for nuclear scientists and engineers who contributed to the hydrogen bomb test.

Experts at the Centre for Nonproliferation Studies in California said that the size of the earthquake triggered by the explosion also suggested that the bomb could have had a force in the hundreds of kilotons.

Ad Feedback

The Pentagon declined to comment, calling it an intelligence matter.

A US intelligence official said the 38 North analysis is consistent with the range of estimates by the intelligence community. The Air Force Technical Applications Center's early estimate was a range of 70 to 280 kilotons, based on the possible magnitude, the official said.

The successful test was announced on state TV.
KCNA

The successful test was announced on state TV.

Satellite imagery showed the test resulted in many more landslides than after any of the previous five tests, according to the 38 North analysis.

North Korea described the device it had detonated as a hydrogen bomb designed to be carried by a long-range missile capable of reaching the US mainland. The international community widely condemned the test and within 10 days, the UN Security Council unanimously approved its toughest sanctions on the country to date.

In the wake of the North Korean test, both the United States and South Korea are highlighting their own military readiness.

US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis was travelling Wednesday to Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota, the centre of the American nuclear arsenal, with more than 100 land-based nuclear missiles and aircraft.

Meanwhile, the South Korean Air Force on Wednesday conducted its first live-fire drill to test its preemptive strike capability, according to the South Korean Defence Ministry.

 - The Washington Post

Ad Feedback
special offers
Ad Feedback