Blast, Mushroom Cloud Reported in N. Korea

James S

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Lots of interesting speculation. If they did test a nuke, why did they do it above ground and not in a non-populated area? Even for someone like Kim it seems excessive to test it to show off and potentially kill so many of his own. Everyone expected that the tests when they happened would be underground. Course, he would want to show it off, so it's entirely possible.

But if an accident, was it still a real nuke? Or something more conventional?

And most interestingly, what are China and Japan going to do if NKorea really has got working Nukes. All of a sudden he has nukes and he already has the means to deliver them and has, if memory served, already suggested that he would deliver them to Japan or any number of other places.

Will this wake China up about this? Japan doesn't have a whole lot of military experience lately but they are starting to take a larger role in their own security. They could do something too...

If it's really a Nuke, (and we'll know soon enough, they are detectable and the government will know and I"m sure let us know shortly) things are going to get very complicated or very violent in a big hurry.
 

KevinL

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I'm praying it's not a nuke too.

The world is really going to hell these days, thank god for CPF being the voice of sanity amidst the madness. One doesn't need .223, one needs a plasma rifle. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/frown.gif

Hope I'm not getting you guys down... I could use some good news too.
 

Mednanu

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Well, at least the military knows for sure and there isn't any guesswork as to whether it was a nuke or not ( for them at least ). Their detectors & sniffers would have immediately spiked. They'll even know whether it was fission or thermonuclear based. Not to turn this into a political thread, but after 'the administration prior to our current one' <font color="red">GAVE</font> N. Korea 7 nuke reactors that could easily be converted into breader reactors, it was just a matter of time before a regime like N. Korea's decided to build a bomb.
 

NewBie

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If it really was, you think they'd even tell you the truth? Best to just say it was a forest fire or some other non-sense, even though one report said something about a huge crater, yeah, forest fires do that, right???
 

James S

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OK, so it's not a Nuke, I knew they would quickly release that info from their "sensors" /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif

Which begs the question, what the heck did happen! And this was very close to, or on the grounds of some big military base. You have to wonder if someone took out some portion of their nuke program. Guess we'll find out more as it unfolds.

I like the description of the crater being "visible to satellites" which is hilarious since I can get pictures from space with better than a meter resolution on the internet. So that doesn't really mean anything.

Mednanu, am I right in thinking that even a regular old electricity producing reactor is still a breeder in the sense that it creates plutonium in the uranium fuel rods? A "breeder" reactor is one that doesn't waste any energy making electricity and concentrates just on transforming the metals. but you could still walk away with the waste from any reactor and use standard chemical refining techniques to get out the plutonium for a big bomb.

A reactor is much easier because since plutonium and uranium are totally different elements you can use regular chemical techniques for separating and concentrating it. The problem with Uranium by itself as a bomb fuel is that you need all those things like gas centrifuges that we're often hearing about to separate the fissionable isotope from the useless isotopes. Since they are both the same element, just with a different number of neutrons in the core, you can't use regular chemical reactions to separate them because they are essentially the same element.

So as far as I know about it, any reactor can be used to make this stuff, it just takes longer. So when certain oil rich nations start wanting to "generate electricity" via a reactor instead of using their local natural resources which would be much cheaper for them. You have to question their motives even if it's not technically a "breeder" reactor.


EDIT: for newbie: Yes, I expect them to tell us. what possible reason would they have to keep this from us? If anything I would expect them to tell us it was even if they weren't sure it wasn't and not the other way around. How does keeping the information from me that NKorea has the bomb serve any political purpose, when telling us that they DO have it clearly fills a political purpose?
 

Mednanu

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[ QUOTE ]
James S said:Mednanu, am I right in thinking that even a regular old electricity producing reactor is still a breeder in the sense that it creates plutonium in the uranium fuel rods? A "breeder" reactor is one that doesn't waste any energy making electricity and concentrates just on transforming the metals.

[/ QUOTE ]Yes and no. While a regular reactor will produce Pu as a byproduct, it's not tuned for this job. The amount of Pu waste produced will be much, much lower than that of a 'Breeder' reactor wherein all of the reaction is largely used to produce plutonium instead of being devoted to power generation. It's sort of the same analogy as saying that all speakers are also microphones. While true, certain ones are tuned to picking up sound while others are tuned to broadcasting it. After all, you'd probably prefer to listen to your stereo from a nice pair of Ramsa's™, than out of a cheap radio shack microphone ( which, technically speaking, is also a speaker). Conversely, you generally see famous muscians using multi-thousand dollar microphones while in the studio, rather than singing into a pair of Walkman headphones. Each are specifically tuned to the purpose for which they've been built. And while each technically can do each other's jobs ( all speakers are microphones, and vice-versa ), the results become obvious that some are meant to be used for a specific purpose.

So to bring it back to the breader, non-breader scenario. Yes, all reactors produce Plutonium as a byproduct, but breader reactors do this as their sole purpose and produce a LOT of Plutonium very efficiently, compared to a non-breader reactor which produces much, much, much less. The problem with the ones that we gave to N. Korea is that they can EASILY be converted into breader reactors, whereas there were other design configurations which we could have just as easily given to them that could not have been readily or efficiently converted into bomb-grade-producing Plutonium factories, but would have only been efficient for power generation instead.
 

Mednanu

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And to anticipate the next query of "<font color="blue">what's the use of giving them a different type of reactor if both contain uranium which could be used to make a bomb ?</font>"....

I'll answer that by stating that this wouldn't have been a siginificant concern, as much lower purity uranium will run a reactor just fine, yet won't be able to be made into a bomb. It has to be enriched significantly above the most concentrated reactor fuel ( by several orders of magnitude ) in order to be used in bomb production. And if you are burning that fuel in a non-breader reactor ( and not producing significant amounts of new fuel as a byproduct of the process - like Plutonium ), it doesn't concentrate the existing fuel into something more dangerous, but instead fissles it into something less concentrated than when you started. To be sure, Uranium in such lower concentrations can still make a real mess and is highly dangerous to living tissue......but it ain't gonna go boom any time soon. For that you'd need very high purity product, which is quite difficult to produce.
 

The_LED_Museum

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If it were a nuclear device, I would have heard news updates on TV about it. But I've heard nothing; this thread on CPF was the only indication I had that N. Korea had an "incident" of any type.
 

Sub_Umbra

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I've been reading reports for a couple days that US SATs had detected activity that suggested that N Korea was about to do a nuke test.

Of all of the reports I have read in the press who said it was not a nuke, and not an intentional shot, I could find none who were disinterested parties -- that is, parties who did not stand to gain one way or another by their statements.

Reports of two near simultaneous blasts (later re-canted) would certainly indicate that it was not a test. The Chinese have oblique angle SAT photos of the 3.5 to 4 km mushroom cloud which make it hard for everyone (including the ChiComms) to change back to a more benign storyline. A reading of 2.6 on the Richter scale will be hard to cover up. Other seismic records will eventually reveal the truth about the interval between the two events.

On a lighter note, did you know that the name of the northern N Korea town that this happened near has two spellings? On my 6-96 CIA map of North Korea this city is actually listed as Kimjongsuk. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif

Ya gotta love those guys.
 

MichiganMan

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I hadn't thought of it, but yeah, it could have been someone ... encouraging Kim to think through how badly he wants nuclear technology. I expected the Chinese to have taken a much more active role than they appear to have had up to this point.
 

Jack_Crow

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Guys,
I posted a similar message on a gun rights board im fond of, so I will post it here as well.

If you have read Richard Rhodes's book "The making of the Atomic Bomb" you will see there was a 'test shot' of 100 tons of TNT near what was to become the Trinity site.

This was done to calibrate the instruments and get a feel for large explosions.

I wondering if this was simply a very large test, a prelude to an actual nuke test. As I recall the time between the conventional and the nuclear was only a matter of weeks.

We life in interesting times.

Hope all is well.
Jack Crow in Iraq
 

Double_A

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Yea well I hope it was an accident not a nuke and it took their whole weapons program wih it!
 

zippo

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The N. Korea don't have nuke, they have a giant mushroom farm. /ubbthreads/images/graemlins/str.gif
 

_mike_

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Same as Craig, I've been watching MSNBC with Lester Holt and nothing on there about it at all.

Mike
 

Frangible

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Lots of conventional explosives can also produce a mushroom cloud, but whether or not that's what has happened here, I don't know.

It seems a bit odd to blow up a mountain... huh? I mean, is that even really possible with conventional explosives? And for a hydro plant? I thought NK was building nuke plants regardless?
 

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