Go to contents

Washington calls into serious question on Pyongyang`s claim of having H-bomb

Washington calls into serious question on Pyongyang`s claim of having H-bomb

Posted December. 12, 2015 07:29,   


As Kim Jong Un, North Korean National Defense Commission Chairman, hinted out the possibility of having hydrogen bomb, the world is paying keen attention to the reclusive communist country.

North Korea’s state-run Korean Central News Agency reported on Thursday that Kim Jong Un who toured Pyongchon revolutionary site said, “North Korea was already a "powerful nuclear weapons state ready to detonate self-reliant A-bomb and H-bomb to reliably defend its sovereignty thanks to the history made by our leader (Kim Il Sung).”

On Thursday (local time), the White House spokesman Josh Earnest at the regular briefing dismissed Pyongyang’s claim by saying, “Washington`s evidence calls into serious question on Pyongyang`s claim,’ adding, "We take very seriously the risk and the threat that is posed by the North Korean regime in their ambitions to develop a nuclear weapon.”

With its fusion reaction, hydrogen bomb or H-bomb is 1,000 times stronger than atomic bomb or A-bomb. Using both nuclear fission and nuclear fusion, H-bomb is said to be the most threatening weapon that human has created so far.

Given that nuclear fusion technology is required to develop H-bomb, domestic experts reckon that Pyongyang’s claim is not likely. “At least 100 grams of heavy hydrogen and tritium is required to make a small H-bomb. It’s difficult to collect that amount with the technology and nuclear facility that the North has been said to have,” senior researcher Jeong Gi-jeong at National Fusion Research Institute who is leading a Korean team at a joint project for International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) said.

Heavy hydrogen and tritium is basic ingredient in making H-bomb. While the former can be easily acquired from sea water, it’s very difficult to extract pure tritium, a kind of radioactive waste coming from reactor. While North Korea claimed its nuclear fusion breakthrough in 2010, it’s known that Pyongyang’s technology is at its infancy that could make nuclear fusion for a very short period of time.

Some analysts on North Korea’s nuclear weapon, however, raised the possibility that the North could secure radioactive substances used in making H-bomb and use it to increase the devastating power of nuclear bomb that it has previously made.

“North Korea has built facilities for handling nuclear materials related to H-bomb in Yongbyun nuclear facilities. It looks that Pyongyang is going to use the material used for making H-bomb to increase the explosive power of nuclear bomb that it has already made,” said Joel Wit, a visiting fellow at Johns Hopkins University who runs 38 North, a website on North Korea.