Ability to produce H-bomb would give North Korea weapon able to fit on missile

TOKYO - The announcement Wednesday from North Korea that it had carried out a nuclear test brought to the front lines of global attention a phrase not often heard since the Cold War - "the H-bomb.

See Full Article

"

As opposed to the atomic bomb, the kind dropped on Japan in the closing days of the Second World War the hydrogen bomb, or so-called "superbomb" can be far more powerful - experts say, by 1,000 times or more.

North Korea's first three nuclear tests, from 2006 to 2013, were A-bombs on roughly the same scale as the ones used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which together killed more than 200,000 people. Pyongyang announced Wednesday that it had detonated its first H-bomb; while seismic data supported the claim of a large explosion, there was no immediate way to confirm the type.

Atomic bombs rely on fission, or atom-splitting, just as nuclear power plants do. The hydrogen bomb, also called the thermonuclear bomb, uses fusion, or atomic nuclei coming together, to produce explosive energy. Stars also produce energy through fusion.

"Think what's going on inside the sun," says Takao Takahara, professor of international politics and peace research at Meiji Gakuin University in Tokyo. "In theory, the process is potentially infinite. The amount of energy is huge."

The technology of the hydrogen bomb is more sophisticated, and once attained, it is a greater threat. They can be made small enough to fit on a head of an intercontinental missile.

"That the bomb can become compact is the characteristic, and so this means North Korea has the U.S. in mind in making this H-bomb announcement," says Tatsujiro Suzuki, professor at the Research Center for Nuclear Weapons Abolition at Nagasaki University.

But the H-bomb requires more technology in control and accuracy because of the greater amount of energy involved, he said. Both the A-bomb and H-bomb use radioactive material like uranium and plutonium for the explosive material.

The hydrogen bomb is in fact already the global standard for the five nations with the greatest nuclear capabilities: the U.S., Russia, France, the U.K. and China. Other nations may also either have it or may be working on it, despite a worldwide effort to contain such proliferation.

The hydrogen bomb was never dropped on any targets. It was first successfully tested in the 1950s by the U.S., in bombs called Mike and Bravo. Soviet tests soon followed.

The crew of a Japanese fishing boat that unknowingly went into the waters near the nuclear testing of Bravo got acute radiation sickness. Since the 1960s, nuclear tests have gone underground to reduce radioactive fallout.

Terumi Tanaka, head of Nihon Hidankyo, or the Japan Federation of A- and H-Bomb Sufferers Organizations, has been working to ban nuclear weapons for years and was stunned by reports of the H-bomb test.

"It defies hopes for progress," he said. "I am outraged."



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • German police: Several injured in attack; suspect arrested

    World News CTV News
    BERLIN -- German police say several people have been injured on a busy bus in an attack in the northern city of Luebeck, and a suspect has been arrested. Police spokesman Duerk Duerbrook said the attack occurred in the Kuecknitz district of Luebeck. Source
  • Lead Bruce McArthur investigator to give 1st update since discovery of more human remains

    Canada News CBC News
    The lead homicide detective in the case of alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur is expected to provide an update at a news conference in Toronto this morning. Acting Inspector Hank Idsinga is set to speak to reporters starting at 10:00 a.m. Source
  • Macron's security aide detained, was filmed beating activist

    World News CTV News
    PARIS -- A top security aide for French President Emmanuel Macron, caught on camera beating a protester, has been detained and is being questioned by authorities, while the president's office has begun the process of firing him following a public backlash. Source
  • Woman who fell through ceiling in viral video sentenced to time served

    Canada News CTV News
    An Alberta woman who fell through the ceiling of a convenience store during an attempted theft has been sentenced. Brittany Burke can be seen on CCTV at Reddi Mart in Edmonton being pushed into a police officer by a man accompanying her. Source
  • Iowa tornadoes hit unexpectedly, causing damage and injuries

    World News CTV News
    DES MOINES, Iowa -- A flurry of unexpected tornadoes swept through central Iowa, injuring at least 17 people, flattening buildings in three cities and forcing the evacuation of a hospital. Residents -- and even weather forecasters -- were taken by surprise Thursday as the tornadoes hit Marshalltown, Pella and Bondurant. Source
  • Indigenous 'man of the hole' has lived alone in Amazon rainforest 22 years

    World News CBC News
    A Brazilian government agency has released footage of an Indigenous man who is believed to have lived in isolation, uncontacted, in the rainforest for 22 years. The man, with hair down to his knees and wearing only a loincloth, was captured on video as he chopped down a tree. Source
  • Police to provide update on case against alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur

    Canada News CTV News
    Toronto police say they will be providing an update today in the case against alleged serial killer Bruce McArthur. The 10 a.m. news conference at Toronto police headquarters comes a week after investigators completed an exploration of a site where the 66-year-old is accused of burying the bodies of numerous men. Source
  • Alta. woman charged after allegedly ramming SUV into senior, restaurant

    Canada News CTV News
    Police in Edmonton have charged a woman who they say intentionally rammed an SUV into an elderly woman before crashing into a local restaurant. On Wednesday evening, police say a 2007 Toyota RAV4 struck an 85-year-old woman and then crashed into a KFC in Edmonton’s west end. Source
  • Former South Korean president sentenced to 8 more years

    World News CBC News
    A South Korean court on Friday sentenced former president Park Geun-hye to an additional eight years for abusing state funds and violating election laws. She now faces the prospect of more than three decades behind bars. She's already serving a 24-year prison term over a massive corruption scandal that led to her removal from office last year. Source
  • "Yesterday was apocalyptic" after forest fire smoke blows into Red Lake, Ont.

    Canada News CBC News
    The forest fire season heating up in northwestern Ontario has caused smoky conditions in many communities in the northwestern reaches of the province.Forest fire hazard in northwestern Ontario reaches high to extreme"Yesterday was apocalyptic," said Rhonda Beckman, who lives in Red Lake, Ont. Source