Remember last week when a North Korea was testing out a nuclear weapon, and boasted that they had achieved the “next level of nuclear might” after conducting the underground explosion of a “hydrogen bomb.” However, experts quickly blew apart Pyongyang’s claims.
The earthquake caused by the detonation measured 5.1 on the Richter scale, which was not stronger than the tremor that was the result of North Korea’s last nuclear test in 2013, meaning it was just a measly atom bomb and definitely not a much more powerful hydrogen bomb. This was North Korea’s fourth nuclear test since 2006.
The power in an atomic bomb is achieved through fission by splitting up very large atoms in Uranium or Plutonium. Fusion is the nuclear chain reaction in which atomic nuclei of low atomic number fuse to form a heavier nucleus that releases enormous quantities of energy.
The United States gave Kim Jong-un two flagrant reminders that they will not be intimidated by North Korea. On Sunday, a U.S. B-52 Stratofortress bomber flew over the Osan Air Force Base near the demilitarized zone that separates North and South Korea. The pattern was not full and the flyby included the bomber, which is quite capable of carrying nuclear weapons, and was joined by South Korea F-15K fighter jets and U.S. F-16s. A tremendous middle finger to Kim Jong-un from 40,000-feet in the air.
Pyongyang’s state-controlled newspaper Rodong Sinmun stated that North Korea would “take on nuclear threats with a nuclear response.”
“This was a demonstration of the ironclad U.S. commitment to our allies in South Korea, in Japan, and to the defense of the American homeland,” Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., commander U.S. Pacific Command,’ said in a statement. “North Korea’s nuclear test is a blatant violation of its international obligations. U.S. joint military forces in the Indo-Asia-Pacific will continue to work with all of our regional allies and partners to maintain stability and security.
North Korea said the act moved closer to the “edge of war,” and justified their hydrogen bomb test because of the presence of the bomber, which had been sent from the U.S. Air Force base in Guam to South Korea, and the hostile policies by the United States. “[The U.S.] at the slightest movement pushes its nuclear aircraft carrier and strategic bombers onto South Korea and its surroundings, frequently carrying out exercises for a nuclear strike against [North Korea],” the Rodong stated.
Now the United States is reminding Kim Jong-un that America has a nuclear arsenal. In an article that appeared on Monday, the New York Times reported how the U.S. is modernizing their nuclear weapons.
The NYT reports that last fall, a U.S. fighter jet took off with the B61 Model 12a, mock version of the nation’s first precision-guided atom bomb and tested it out in a Nevada desert.
The Pentagon is attempting to make nuclear weapons smaller and smarter. This atomic revitalization is estimated to cost up to $1 trillion over three decades. The program looks to transform the United States’ nuclear arsenal as well as their delivery systems, and attempt to make them smaller, more stealthy and with increased precision.
Adapted from an older weapon, it was designed with problems like North Korea in mind: Its computer brain and four maneuverable fins let it zero in on deeply buried targets like testing tunnels and weapon sites. And its yield, the bomb’s explosive force, can be dialed up or down depending on the target, to minimize collateral damage.
Not sure that collateral damage can truly be minimized when you’re using a thermonuclear that releases the energy of 25 megatons of TNT.
Peculiar timing of the release of this nuclear test. Seems like its a friendly reminder by the United States to Kim Jong-un to worry about getting super cool haircuts and keep starving his citizens, while he feeds his face.