The U.S intelligence chief recently stated that he is unsure whether or not North Korea tested a “boosted” nuclear device this year.
A “boosted” bomb is a nuclear weapon that ranks in power somewhere between a fission bomb and a hydrogen bomb. A normal fission bomb has the destructive capabilities of only a few kilotons. The blast that was recorded from North Korea back in January was recorded in the range of 6 to 10 kilotons, which is far less than what would be needed to be considered a thermonuclear weapon. A normal thermonuclear weapon would usually range in the 15,000-50,000 kiloton range.
To put all that in perspective, the bombs that went off in Nagasaki and Hiroshima during World War II yielded roughly 15 and 20 kilotons.
According to Charles Ferguson, the president of the Federation of American Scientists, “a boosted fission bomb alone…would mean that North Korea is well on its way to making nuclear bombs that are small enough and lightweight enough to fit on ballistic missiles.”
Due to the fact that North Korea has a small supply of fissile material to create nuclear weapons, smaller weapons with not as much yield is a more efficient way to save the fissile material they have available.
Besides seismic testing, the only way to tell that North Korea has managed to create a boosted bomb is to test the contents of the air. AFTAC, the Air Force Technical Applications Center would probe the atmosphere for tritium which is key to creating a “boosted” bomb. AFTAC has yet to report on any signs of tritium as of yet, but some experts still think that the bombs that North Korea tested were stronger than what were recorded since the bombs that they were testing were detonated underground. If the bombs were detonated deeper in the ground, than the original estimate of a 10 kiloton yield could be inaccurate, and if the bomb yielded closer to 50 kilotons, there would be no doubt that the bomb was indeed “boosted” and that North Korea has achieved fusion, a process that is necessary to create hydrogen bombs.
North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un’s inferiority complex will continue to grow until he has achieved full nuclear power recognition.
Do you think North Korea has the capability to create “boosted” nuclear weapons?