What Is The Nuke History With North Korea?

September 3rd, 2017: a Sunday in which most Americans were getting ready for work or school, and spending time with family.

September 3rd , 2017: the day North Korea tested its biggest weapon yet.

North Korea has been known for its wild antics, especially since Kim Jong-un had taken over as chairman for the Central Military Commission following his father’s death. The constant switching between tolerance and possible war threat has either tormented U.S. citizens, or made them numb to this sort of “living in fear” mentality. However, just this last month, North Korea made a statement that caught the attention of nearly everyone. The statement? A one hundred and fifty kiloton (330,693,393.27732 lbs) hydrogen bomb.

Though this may seem like an unfathomable size, it is actually described as “a miniaturised hydrogen bomb that could be loaded onto a long range missile.” So, not only is this bomb 150 kilotons (330,693,393.27732 lbs), but it is also able to be launched into the sky. Perhaps our sky. This is a very scary possibility for us Americans to consider: that North Korea will finally settle the score. Before we think of this, we should look back on past events.

The date is October 9th, 2006, the first bomb test from North Korea. The seismograph reads the bomb at 4.3, the magnitude of a mid-size earthquake. This bomb is roughly one tenth the size of Hiroshima, and disappoints many. May 23, 2009: Kim Jong-il attempts to prove North Korea’s stability before he dies by creating a more powerful bomb than before. This one clocks in at a magnitude of 4.7, slightly more powerful than the last. February 12, 2013: the speculated uranium bomb reaches a magnitude of 5.1, which matches with the test later, on January 6th, 2016. This was never identified to be a bomb, but there were no reported earthquakes when it took place. The fifth official test was September 9th, 2016. No one is certain how large the bomb actually was, but estimates are anywhere in between 10 kilotons (22,046,226.218 lbs) and 20 kilotons (44,092,452.437 lbs). The most recent bomb reached a magnitude of 6.3, which is substantially larger than the tests before.

Out of the six (possibly seven) nuclear bomb tests, only two– one in 2016 and the most recent one, have had any relation to the U.S. The test in 2016 occurred just days after the North threatened to attack South Korea, and the U.S. The most recent test followed and was followed by a steady ooze of President Trump’s haphazard tweets about his relationship with “Rocket Man”. This was responded to with a threat about testing bombs in the Pacific from North Korea, putting California in the direct line of danger. As for Santa Cruz alone, there is little risk of being hit directly, but nuclear fallout could affect us.

By Angelo Reis

Image from NUKEMAP: damage from 150 kiloton bomb


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