Wednesday, October 11, 2006

North Korean Nukes - "Fizzle" is word of the week

I sort of cover non-proliferation issues for my work along with terrorism and related matters - partly because I didn't say no quick enough to the boss and partly because I looked quite deeply at one point into non-state group (i.e. terrorist) interest in unconventional weapons so needed to understand what unconventional weapons (lets not use the ridiculous WMD-term) are. I have no great expertise on the issue, but I do subscribe to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists so at least I look the part. ;-)

Anyway, I know enough to know who are the real experts, and ArmsControlWonk - otherwise known as Dr. Jeffrey Lewis, Executive Director of the Managing the Atom Project at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, really is one of them. So it's his blog I've been looking at to understand the news over the DPRK's (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) test. "Fizzle" is clearly word of the week. A "fizzle" is when a nuclear bomb fails to explode fully, with the chain reaction not progressing through all the uranium. The explosive yield is therefore much much smaller than it should have been. As Dr. Lewis puts it we end up with a ridiculous scenario where:
"the United States has built a missile defense that does not work, to defend against a North Korean missile that does not work, that would carry a nuclear warhead that does not work.

This is all very postmodern."
If a fizzle turns out to be the case, which is looking more and more likely, there really isn't much to say from the DPRK's point of view beyond:

1 comment:

EdE said...

what i like is your unique analysis. That's why I tune in every week.

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