Tiny H-Bomb, is this possible?

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  • Tiny H-Bomb, is this possible?
  • ossify
    Member

    Any nuclear bomb experts here? Help me understand this, it’s been bothering me:

    North Korea say they exploded a hydrogen bomb, USA & Co say it can’t be an actual H-bomb because the blast wasn’t big enough.

    Maybe it was a very small H-bomb? It was a test after all and they only have very limited amounts of fuel. Did that not occur to anyone? Or am I being ignorant and that is not actually possible?

    Premier Icon maccruiskeen
    Subscriber

    Maybe they only split half an atom 🙂

    Could be the case that it was a H bomb it just didn’t go off properly. Its a much-forgotten episode that the US accidentally dropped 4 hydrogen bombs on Spain – two of the bombs exploded but only the conventional parts of them – which failed to detonate the atomic bits and just threw Plutomium everywhere instead. The US has had to spend the last 50 years quietly trying to clean it all up

    Premier Icon woody2000
    Subscriber

    Maybe it was a very small H-bomb

    Nah, just very far away.

    devash
    Member

    Its nothing but propaganda from a very small, very insecure, very crazy state.

    The propaganda benefits certain entities in the US as well (the Pentagon, CIA etc) as it justifies their bloated budgets.

    Kim Jong Un gets to feel like a big man on the world stage, the American defence industry is kept in funding, everyone’s a winner.

    ossify
    Member

    Its nothing but propaganda from a very small, very insecure, very crazy state.

    I know and don’t really expect it to be anything else, it just seems more than a little irresponsible to rule it out for that reason. Boy who cried wolf, anyone?

    Maybe they don’t have any nukes at all? The “test” was just a huge pile of TNT, or Kim Jong Un sneezing through a megaphone 😛

    [video]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2iVWiQCfN_g[/video] 😯 😀

    gobuchul
    Member

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special_Atomic_Demolition_Munition

    Apparently could have a yield as “low” as 10 tonnes. Still a pretty big bang mind.

    Coastal targets[edit]
    It was also intended that the munition could be used against targets in coastal and near-coastal locations. One person carrying the weapon package would parachute from an aircraft and place the device in a harbor or other strategic location that was accessible from the sea. Another parachutist without a weapon package would follow the first to provide support as needed. The two-person team would place the weapon package in the target location, set the timer, and swim out into the ocean, where they would be retrieved by a submarine or a high-speed surface water craft.

    From the link – any volunteers?

    dragon
    Member

    Maybe it was a very small H-bomb?

    Why would you bother when you could just use a atomic (fusion) bomb and a fusion bomb is necessary for a H-bomb.

    cranberry
    Member

    Maybe they have stolen a Davey Crockett:

    Premier Icon maccruiskeen
    Subscriber

    The “test” was just a huge pile of TNT, or Kim Jong Un sneezing through a megaphone

    I once spent all my pocket money on reels of caps – then carefully stacked the reels on top of each other and hit whole lot with a hammer. Disappointingly they made absolutely no noise at all and I was ruminating on what a waste of money it had been when I noticed my parents coming out of the house, looking worried and silently mouthing ‘what the hell just happened?’ and ‘are you all right?’ I was 28 years old.

    It could have been that (if you can buy reels of caps in NK)

    Premier Icon slowoldman
    Subscriber

    Why would you bother when you could just use a atomic (fusion) bomb and a fusion bomb is necessary for a H-bomb.

    An H-bomb IS a fusion bomb. Did you mean “Why would you bother when you could just use a atomic (fission) bomb and a fission bomb is necessary for a H-bomb”?

    As for whether NK tested an H-bomb or not, I was under the impression that it was something to do with the signature of the seismic signal that led the US to say they didn’t think it was a H-bomb 9rather than just the size of the explosion).

    Premier Icon richmtb
    Subscriber

    Why would you bother when you could just use a atomic (fusion) bomb and a fusion bomb is necessary for a H-bomb.

    That will be fission

    H Bombs use fusion

    All the low yield devices that the US messed about with were fission weapons.
    They had plenty of serious drawbacks.

    If you make the blast small enough to be survivable by the soldiers actually detonating the weapons then you still have to deal with the fallout – fission weapons are really good at producing lots of fallout.

    If you start popping off “battlefield” low yield weapons it’s likely it will very quickly escalate to big mansized nukes.

    Do you want to give theatre commanders the authority to release nuclear weapons? If not then the President or Prime Minister isn’t going to have the tactical awareness to use them and will just go back to the mansized nukes anyway.

    This will be why stuff like Davy Crocket above were never really seriously viable except in the really mad early days of the Cold War.

    The west is reasonably confident that North Korea doesn’t have an H-bomb because all H-Bombs effectively use a A-bomb (plutonium or uranuim fission bomb) within them to trigger the 2nd stage fusion reaction. Therefore they can’t be small

    footflaps
    Member

    Plus, eventually the isotopes will drift over their sensors on the nearest land masses and they can then tell exactly what type of explosion it was.

    amedias
    Member

    Maybe it was a very small H-bomb?

    without getting all sciencey on here it basically boils down to:

    By it’s very nature a fusion bomb (H-bomb) will be ‘big’ in terms of blast/energy, and bigger than a fission bomb*. We can’t really do a small thermonuclear explosion…

    Also

    Did that not occur to anyone?

    A general** rule of thumb is that if you (or I) can jump to that thought/conclusion, chances are that people much smarter than you or I have also considered that, which normally leads to:

    Or am I being ignorant

    *which is also required anyway (in every current fusion bomb we’ve made) to kick start the fusion bit so end result will always be bigger.

    **it’s entirely possible in some cases you might be a genius and have a unique idea/thought, but on balance of probabilities…

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    I once spent all my pocket money on reels of caps… I was 28 years old.

    You got pocket money at 28?

    In a Hydrogen Bomb, an atom bomb is the detonator, so i doubt it.

    Murray
    Member

    Covered pretty well by the BBC, quoted on Wiki

    Bruce W. Bennett, senior defense analyst of the RAND Corporation research organization, is also skeptical, telling BBC News that “the bang they should have gotten would have been 10 times greater… So Kim Jong-un is either lying, saying they did a hydrogen test when they didn’t, they just used a little bit more efficient fission weapon – or the hydrogen part of the test really didn’t work very well or the fission part didn’t work very well.”[23] After considering the seismic data which suggests a 6–9 kiloton yield, other U.S. analysts also do not believe that a hydrogen bomb was detonated. “What we’re speculating is they tried to do a boosted nuclear device, which is an atomic bomb that has a little bit of hydrogen, an isotope in it called tritium,” said Joseph Cirincione, president of the global security firm Ploughshares Fund.[24]

    dragon
    Member

    That will be fission

    H Bombs use fusion

    Correct, cheers for tidying up my lingo cockup above. Teach me to proof read better next time.

    Perhaps a Teeny-Tiny H-Bomb is do-able!

    raisinhat
    Member

    According to the ever reliable wikipedia, the blast was estimated to be a 6 – 9 kiloton yield, which is pretty small. It’s around the same order of magnitude as the first few British fission bombs. When Britain did detonate our first hydrogen bomb it was 200 – 300 kt, and was considered a bit of a failure because they expected one megaton. This was back in the 1950s, to put it in perspective.

    It’s possible that North Korea had intended it to be a fusion device and the secondary stage failed, but it seems more likely that it’s a small fission bomb – mostly because they’re much easier to design and build.

    aP
    Member

    My understanding was that Grapple 1/Short Granite was a failure in that it was a boosted fission reaction and not fusion as anticipated at only 200-300 kt. It wasn’t until Grapple X/Round C that the UK managed a fully thermonuclear test at 1.8Mt.

    raisinhat
    Member

    You could be right – I would in no way claim any expertise. I’ve heard that

    Green Granite Small was detonated in the Grapple 1/Short Granite test on 15 May 1957. Its yield was a disappointing 200-300 kt, but most of this was from the secondary stage providing proof of principle.

    Norman Dombey and Eric Grove on the other hand say that none of those 1957 tests were true thermonuclear devices, and that it was a political bluff instead.

    To get back on topic, Vox has a good article about what these threats from NK mean both internally and as a result of external sanctions.

    redthunder
    Member

    Yes there has already been a backpack nuke…used by navy seals vietnam. Well carried anyway.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/W54

    The “test” was just a huge pile of TNT, or Kim Jong Un sneezing through a megaphone

    You may laugh, but use enough megaphones and it is devastatingly effective:
    [video]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oCyXsHC-lQ4[/video]

    ossify
    Member

    Thanks for clearing this up for me a bit 🙂

    A general** rule of thumb is that if you (or I) can jump to that thought/conclusion, chances are that people much smarter than you or I have also considered that

    Indeed, but it’s frustrating when it’s seemingly obvious and not addressed in newspaper articles. Guess I should read beyond newspaper articles occasionally 😛

    Premier Icon bikebouy
    Subscriber

    Thanks for this thread, I got all confused thinking “small” nuclear device meant the same as Chenobil reactor blast..

    But I do think we need some more details out of that image up there ^^ The one that describes the type of elements used..

    Can we add:
    Quantity of elements required
    Source or supplier able to supply said elements
    Some sort of “manual” or “how to crib sheet” to build the bomb
    Blast radius
    Vehicle needed to deliver and to escape the blast

    Ta

    😉

    aP
    Member

    Well that should have got the attention of the authorities.

    PJM1974
    Member

    It’s complex…

    The reason why Little Boy and Fat Man were very large, is because of the inefficiency of the Uranium 235 used – either due to manufacturing impurities or physics. The Uranium content of Little Boy was around 65Kg or 141lb.

    The amount of Uranium that actually underwent fission was less than a kilo.

    Now, a hydrogen bomb requires enormous temperatures and pressures for fusion to occur – instead of splitting atoms of uranium, the hydrogen (actually lithium deuteride) fuses to form heavier elements. This cannot occur by the use of a normal explosive charge, so a fission device is used to create the conditions required for fusion.

    Still with me? Hope so.

    A modern hydrogen bomb requires an explosive charge to force the fissile material together (either plutonium or uranium) so it reaches critical mass and starts splitting atoms and releasing energy. This in turn creates enough energy to force the lithium deuteride to undergo fusion.

    Boom.

    The very first British thermonuclear weapon, tested in 1957 was actually a bit of a cheat…boosted fission in this case and failed to meet the expected yield.

    A tiny H bomb is unlikely, more likely anything portable would be a fission weapon. Or a dirty bomb.

    Premier Icon survivor
    Subscriber

    Nobody’s considering the possibility that NK did detonate an H-Bomb and our lot are telling us they didn’t. ………

    stranger things have happened.

    Run for the hills

    Premier Icon slowoldman
    Subscriber

    So that’s where the WMDs are.

    CountZero
    Member

    devash – Member
    Its nothing but propaganda from a very small, very insecure, very crazy state.
    The propaganda benefits certain entities in the US as well (the Pentagon, CIA etc) as it justifies their bloated budgets.
    Kim Jong Un gets to feel like a big man on the world stage, the American defence industry is kept in funding, everyone’s a winner.

    I have an image in my mind of Kimbob wandering around the house when no-one else is about wearing a tee shirt with ‘tiny penis’ printed on the front.
    😀

    Whether NK did or didn’t detonate a real H bomb is inconsequential. If they didn’t its only a matter of time as they have the will to do it and seem to have the ability to be making progress in their ambitions. Anyway dead is dead whether it be at the hand of a Fission bomb or a Fusion bomb. Either will kill you just as effectively as the other. It’s a pointless arms race, in reality its no more effective than simply having a Fission bomb capability.

    Anyway the most important piece of the whole thing is not the bomb itself, its the means to deliver it. Let them have the H-bomb – on it’s own its useless to them, but prevent them from developing the long range missile system that can deliver it.

    jambalaya
    Member

    They did manage to hit the sea with some missiles 🙂

    If NK posed a serious threat China would deal with them, IMO of course

    Premier Icon seadog101
    Subscriber

    If you want some scary reading:

    Command and Control, by Eric Schlosser. Lots of well researched detail on the rather slapdash way nuclear weapons were handled right up into the 1990’s. Armed minuteman missiles guarded by one single, conscript (Italian) infantryman? Amongst m any others. The accidentally dropped bomb in Georgia USA, that had had 6 of its 7 arming steps completed when it was found?

    larrydavid
    Member

    What’s on the current trident missiles?

    Maybe it’s because they’re getting on a bit… There are rumours that the 3 missing nukes from David Cameron’s trip to South Africa made their way to North Korea..

    [video]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Q1EN5_9nIk[/video]

    The more I look into this, the more it appears there is significant truth in many aspects, from the mystery £17.8 million, to infiltration of Astra by the intelligence services, most notably, Stephan Kock, whose name is said to be on the DTI paperwork regarding the South African Nukes.

    You ask for Motive into his MURDER:

    He was the appointed Conservative Nuclear Weapon Scientist entrusted in 1991 to oversee the covert purchase of 3 ex Stock Pelindaba, Pretoria Battlefield Bombs.
    On a request UOR From ASTRA via the DTI, the UOR Signed by Stephan Kock for ASTRA and Peter Lilley for the DTI to purchase from ARMSCOR 3 “CYLINDERS”
    The Operation, a deliberate Conservative Fraud to overcharge the Treasury by £17.8 Million to top up their EMPTY Coffers to fight the 1992 General Election.

    As uncovered by the Labour Party
    HANSARD JUNE 22 1993 From Col 197.

    Also worth noting that George Kennedy Young, Ex director of MI5 and heavily involved in the Conservative Monday club was pivotal in convincing Gerald James to set up Astra as an arms company in the 1st place:


    In the Public Interest: A Devastating Account of the Thatcher Government’s Involvement in the Covert Arms Trade, by the Man Who Turned Astra Fireworks into a £100m Arms Manufacturer


    George Kennedy Young is also deeply tied in to the child abuse networks used by the intelligence services and Special branch to co-erce powerbrokers to the will of the state.

    Also worth noting that many key people linked to the Belgian Arms industry (PRB being a key player), which as Astra grew, it became involved in (detailed in Gerald James’ book above) were also tied into global child abuse networks

    Along with alleged links to David Kelly’s death, Jonathan Moyle, Gerald Bull and Andre Cools lives were also taken, the last 2 in professional hits.

    Could this also be relevant?

    Murder, arms dealing, treason and sexual abuse: the apartheid regime and the Tory right

    PJM1974
    Member

    That’s a scary situation itself, not just for the missiles but for the subs that carry them.

    …every single British nuclear sub, every single one is still languishing at either Devonport or Rosyth with defuelled, but still very radioactive reactors in place because the government hasn’t budgeted for disposal.

    HMS Dreadnought has been decommissioned since 1980.

    [edit] Turns out that several are still fuelled.

    Max yield from a fission weapon is about a megatonne(much larger and it blows itself apart before it all detonates) we did this during “we want Polaris tech” as we weren’t sure we could make a fusion weapon ignite properly and we wanted in on the tech the yanks stole/hid from us. If I remember rightly our first fission/fusion bomb was a fissile(fizzile) where fusion stage doesn’t burn properly.

    Fusion bombs, usually three stage weapons for a proper Big Bang with fission nuke primer, lithium deuteride second stage for fusion followed by third stage fission tamper. Makes a VERY dirty weapon and as the Russians discovered there’s not much point going over 50MT as all you do is start lifting a chunk of atmosphere with the blast when you get past that.

    Most nukes modern nukes (fission/fusion type) are tuneable for yield depending on target from KT to low MT, the Russians may still have some 50MT NORAD killers in their missile fleets. Sub weapons are usually a bit larger as they are lower accuracy than silo missiles but once the yanks and ruskies start using them it’s probably only cities that are left.

    Wikipedia has an entry on Nuclear Weapon Yield that is good

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