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NYT/Reuters: N.Korea's Next Task -- a Small, Missile-Ready Bomb

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DeepModem Mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 09:52 AM
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NYT/Reuters: N.Korea's Next Task -- a Small, Missile-Ready Bomb
N.Korea's Next Task -- a Small, Missile-Ready Bomb
Published: October 9, 2006

LONDON (Reuters) - North Korea's next challenge after testing a nuclear warhead is to make one small enough to fit to a missile -- a tricky undertaking, experts say, but one that might not take long if it has the requisite know-how.

"They've got to get the weight down to about 500 to 700 kg (1,102 to 1,543 lbs), which I would have believed is perfectly possible with knowledge that is available today,'' said Duncan Lennox, editor of Jane's Strategic Weapons Systems.

"It would be about 1.5 meters (4 ft 11 in) tall, a cone, with a base diameter of 0.8 to one meter.''

Such a device could be delivered to its target by one or more missile types among North Korea's extensive arsenal.

The Scud C, with a range of up to 500 km (311 miles), would be a viable choice "if they wanted to be particularly nasty to South Korea,'' Lennox said....


One unknown in the equation is the extent of the help obtained by North Korea from disgraced Pakistani scientist A. Q. Khan, the father of his country's own successful drive to acquire the nuclear bomb....
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kurth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 10:02 AM
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1. Bush: N. Korea's nuclear program "vital to national security interests"
Wednesday, 3 April, 2002, 12:06 GMT
US grants N Korea nuclear funds

The US Government has announced that it will release $95m to North Korea as part of an agreement to replace the Stalinist country's own nuclear programme, which the US suspected was being misused.

Under the 1994 Agreed Framework an international consortium is building two proliferation-proof nuclear reactors and providing fuel oil for North Korea while the reactors are being built.

In releasing the funding, President George W Bush waived the Framework's requirement that North Korea allow inspectors to ensure it has not hidden away any weapons-grade plutonium from the original reactors.

President Bush argued that the decision was "vital to the national security interests of the United States".
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mn9driver Donating Member (877 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 10:31 AM
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2. Duncan Lennox is a fear mongering idiot.
Let's talk Nukes. (from my blog)

It now appears that the Bush administration has their figurative mushroom cloud just in time for the fall elections. So far, all of the statements regarding the event have been predictable. Bush is threatening. Everyone else is condemning. North Korea is trumpeting amazing success. Yawn.

Without getting into possibly classified details about how these things work and their physical characteristics, let me make the following points:

--They have no intention of conducting any more tests.

--Any significant design change would require a test, so they have one design and a very limited amount of fissile material.

--Their one design is almost certainly too big, too heavy and too fragile to mount on a missile.

--Their one design is without question too big and too heavy to put into a backpack, or even anything less than a small truck.

--A nuclear weapon that can't be delivered is of limited utility.

The DPRK is stirring the pot, nothing more. They have had all of this material since the US pulled out of the Agreed Framework. I can think of only two scenarios where the insane leadership of the DPRK could convert this development into a serious threat:

--They load their nuke onto a submarine and sneak it into someone's harbor.

--They sell their nuke to a third party, who transports it out of the country and into a place where they want a big bang.

Based on the degree of scrutiny that they will be subjected to as a result of their success, I think it very unlikely that they will be able to do either one of these things without detection. China and Russia have both been embarrassed by this; they won't permit this thing to cross their borders. The only way to transport it is by sea. We have the technology and the seapower to detect and prevent that; all it will take is a minimal level of competence from the administration to set up the program.

Um, maybe we have something to worry about, after all.
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NeedleCast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 11:07 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. Well said
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Beetwasher Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 12:01 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. "all it will take is a minimal level of competence from the administration
Well gee, nothing to worry abou then! Because they are so competent to begin with. :eyes:

This is a massive failure on their part and should be trumpeted as such. It happened on their watch. The world is significantly more dangerous. The mere fact that NK is brazen enough to or feels threatened enough to conduct this test is a massive, massive failure. There is no other realistic way to look at this. NK just gave Bushco. a smack of "real reality" and nuked Bushco. "created reality."
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