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Lorin Thwaits A geek says what?

There was lots of stir generated earlier today -- North Korea being assumed to have had a degree of success in creating a prompt-critical fission reaction using plutonium.  Whatever occurred there -- a mere 70 miles from China's border -- it was powerful enough to kick up a reading of around 4 on the Richter scale.  This indicates a fairly sizable blast.  Enough for me to assume that whatever the device was, it has a potential yeild of at least a couple kilotons, the same general yield of a suitcase nuke.  This test device was probably lots larger and heavier than those weapons, but the test still marks DPNK's entrance into what may be the start of a madnening arms race in Asia.

I'm surprised that US Intelligence has already gone so far as to say that it probably wasn't a nuclear event.  Even though some aspect of their setup may have been flawed, such as whatever tamper they used not being shaped just right, preventing most of the plutonium from reacting, still with a blast that size it's most likely nuclear.  After all, would they really pack that tunnel with tens of thousands of pounds of high explosives, enough to fake a nuclear test?  Well, maybe.  This is North Korea we're dealing with here.  So I guess entering into this with a fair degree of skepticism is appropriate.  But to jump so soon to the conclusion that it was not nuclear is a little presumptuous.

I am of course very concerned about this development.  Lots of ramifications, perhaps the most important being that it will cause the current US administration, the one that's already proven itself as being fairly confrontational, to further consider the nuclear option.  Dear God above, I hope there's a way to avoid that kind of conflict.  Each use of such devices scars our planet for several million years.  Another inevitable outcome (perhaps something people will care most about at the moment) is that we'll see a quick turn-around of what has been declining oil prices.  Here we go back towards $3 a gallon gasonline in the US.

The best news I read all day was the response that South Africa gave.  Even though it is the same message that other countries gave, being to admonish that DPNK abandon their program altogether, I think their message carries lots more weight.  After all, South Africa is the only country on the planet to first establish a nuclear deterrent, and then completely disarm.  They now use nuclear technology solely for peaceful purposes.  That means alot to me.  They not only talk the talk, they have certainly also walked the walk.

Please contribute by encouraging the leaders around the world to make the right decisions at this very important time.

You may be interested in an earlier post about how the United States ushered in the nuclear age.

Posted on Monday, October 9, 2006 8:34 PM | Back to top


Comments on this post: We made it eight years without a nuclear blast, and now this.

# re: We made it eight years without a nuclear blast, and now this.
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"but the test still marks DPNK's entrance into what may be the start of a madnening arms race in Asia".

How funny this is... madnening arms race is in Asia and most the wars were outside Asia. Like, World war 1 & 2, US war on other countries...

Let us certainly encourage leaders around the world to disarm their nuclear capabilities starting with US ;)
Left by Sam on Oct 10, 2006 1:41 AM

# High time for the US to disarm
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Sam -- Quite true! It's so frustrating that the US is not participating in the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). Looking at the list of countries that have signed up (UK, France, Russia, etc), it would only seem fitting that we should be there with them, supporting denuclearization. Not signing up keeps us in the same mix as North Korea, Iran, Pakistan, and others.

On the environmental front the same things could be said about the Kyoto Protocol. Totally embarassing that we're not onboard there. If anyone needs to commit to change it is first the US. Great to see Schwarzenegger taking a real lead on those issues, and no doubt other states will follow. Too bad the same sensible state governments can't have more sway when it comes to these extremely important national issues.
Left by Lorin on Oct 10, 2006 2:22 AM

# re: We made it eight years without a nuclear blast, and now this.
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Seems fine interesting post. really good.
Left by Nikita Ivan on Jan 29, 2010 5:13 AM

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