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

  • 'We need him': Yazidi mother pleads for Canada's help to reunite with injured son

    Canada News CTV News
    A Yazidi refugee who escaped Iraq with four of her six sons is pleading for Canadian officials to reunite her with her 12-year-old son Emad, whom she only recently learned is alive. An Islamic State attack in August 2014 separated Nofa Mihlo Zaghla from two of her sons and her husband. Source
  • Minneapolis police chief resigns in wake of Justine Damond shooting

    World News Toronto Sun
    Minneapolis police Chief Janee Harteau resigned Friday at the request of the mayor, who said she lost confidence in the chief following last week’s shooting death of an unarmed Australian woman by a police officer. In a statement released Friday, Harteau said: “I’ve decided I am willing to step aside to let a fresh set of leadership eyes see what more can be done for the MPD to be the very best it can be. Source
  • Minneapolis police chief resigns after officer's shooting of Australian woman

    World News CBC News
    Minneapolis police Chief Janee Harteau resigned Friday at the request of the mayor, who said she lost confidence in the chief following last week's shooting death of an unarmed Australian woman by a police officer. In a statement released Friday, Harteau said: "I've decided I am willing to step aside to let a fresh set of leadership eyes see what more can be done for the MPD to be the very best it can be. Source
  • Who is Anthony Scaramucci, Trump's new communications chief?

    World News CTV News
    NEW YORK -- He was the only Trump ally on stage that day. Yet Anthony Scaramucci didn't seem to mind the tough questions from MSNBC host Joe Scarborough or the hostile crowd that filled the luxury hotel ballroom at last month's private gathering of Mitt Romney supporters. Source
  • Qur’an submerged in lard mailed to California Islamic centre

    World News Toronto Sun
    SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Police are investigating the mailing of a Qur’an submerged in a tub of what appeared to be pork lard to a Northern California Islamic centre. The Sacramento chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations received the package in June, and it follows two other incidents of defaced Qurans at nearby mosques last month. Source
  • Firefighter brings nearly dead dog back to life

    World News CTV News
    BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - A California fire department says a little white dog named Jack is recovering after a firefighter rescued him from a burning home and brought him back to life. In a video posted to the Bakersfield Fire Department's website that has been widely shared online, firefighter Matt Smith is shown on Wednesday carrying the nearly lifeless shih tzu from a house. Source
  • Former escort gets 16 years for trying to hire hit man

    World News Toronto Sun
    WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A former Florida escort convicted of trying to hire a hit man to murder her newlywed husband was sentenced Friday to 16 years in prison, perhaps ending a drawn-out case that drew notice for its startling videos and salacious characters. Source
  • Hawaii prepares for 'unlikely' North Korea missile threat

    World News CTV News
    HONOLULU -- Hawaii is the first state to prepare the public for the possibility of a ballistic missile threat from North Korea. The state's Emergency Management Agency on Friday announced a public education campaign. Source
  • Poland's senators to vote on controversial court overhaul

    World News CTV News
    WARSAW, Poland -- Poland's Senate was poised Friday to approve legislation that would give politicians substantial influence over the country's Supreme Court -- a move that critics say would defy the principles of the European Union. Source
  • BC Hydro CEO Jessica McDonald fired

    Canada News CBC News
    The BC Hydro board of directors has fired CEO Jessica McDonald as the new NDP government continues to make changes after being sworn into office earlier this week. On Thursday, Kenneth Peterson was appointed chair of the BC Hydro board, replacing former Liberal adviser Brad Bennett. Source