H-bomb — Not just a game changer, it’s a game over

SEOUL: North Korea conducted its sixth and most powerful nuclear test on Sunday, which it said was a successful detonation of an advanced hydrogen bomb, technically known as a two-stage thermonuclear device.
All of North Korea’s six nuclear tests including the one on Sunday have taken place at its underground testing site in Punggye-ri, deep in mountainous terrain, and it is hard to independently verify the claims.
But experts who studied the impact of the earthquake caused by the explosion — measured by the US Geological Survey at magnitude 6.3 — said there was enough strong evidence to suggest the reclusive state has either developed a hydrogen bomb or was getting very close.
The detonation produced 10 times more power than the fifth nuclear test a year ago, South Korean and Japanese officials said.
NORSAR, a Norwegian earthquake monitoring agency, estimated the yield at 120 kilotons, significantly above the 15 kiloton “Little Boy” bomb dropped on Hiroshima and the 20 kiloton “Fat Man” dropped on Nagasaki at the end of World War Two.
“That scale is to the level where anyone can say (it is) a hydrogen bomb test,” said Kune Y Suh, a nuclear engineering professor at Seoul National University.
“North Korea has effectively established itself as a nuclear state. This is not just a game changer, it’s a game over,” Suh said.
North Korea claims its intercontinental ballistic missiles tested twice in July can reach large parts of the mainland United States.
Developing a hydrogen bomb would be key to have a lighter warhead, because that would offer much greater explosive yield relative to size and weight.
“Getting this high of a yield would likely require thermonuclear material in the device,” said David Albright, a physicist and founder of the non-profit Institute for Science and International Security in Washington.
“It would show that their design, whatever the specific design, has achieved a yield that is capable of destroying modern cities.” Albright, however, still questioned the North’s claim that it was a genuine two-stage thermonuclear device. — Reuters