Reports: Atomic bomb detonated by North Korea — M4.9 quake one kilometer underground — Country’s third test ever, first since 2009 (VIDEO)

Published: February 12th, 2013 at 1:06 am ET



North Korea conducted a nuclear test on Tuesday, South Korea’s defense ministry said, after seismic activity measuring 4.9 magnitude was registered by the U.S. Geological Survey.

The epicenter of the seismic activity, which was only one kilometer below the Earth’s surface, was close to the North’s known nuclear test site. […]

AP, Feb. 12, 2013 at 1:00a ET:

North Korea successfully detonated a miniaturized nuclear device at a northeastern test site Tuesday, state media said, defying U.N. Security Council orders to shut down atomic activity or face more sanctions and international isolation. […]

The North said it used a “lighter, miniaturized atomic bomb” that still has more explosive force than past tests. […]

Wikipedia: The 2009 North Korean nuclear test was the underground detonation of a nuclear device […] This was its second nuclear test, the first test having taken place in October 2006.

Watch CNN’s report here

Published: February 12th, 2013 at 1:06 am ET


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46 comments to Reports: Atomic bomb detonated by North Korea — M4.9 quake one kilometer underground — Country’s third test ever, first since 2009 (VIDEO)

  • lam335 lam335

    Is it correct to assume that the seismic activity means that the bomb was detonated underground? If so, does above ground fall-out still result from an underground test?

    • Jebus Jebus

      Yep and usually not, unless…

      Chapter 8 – Mighty Oak

      Sixteen days before Chernobyl (April 26, 1986) the biggest nuclear accident and containment failure since Three Mile Island occurred in the U.S. Critics, including 'Project Censored,' the author of 'American Ground Zero: the Secret Nuclear War' and Gore Vital have alleged that the U.S. government lied to cover up the radiation release of 'Mighty Oak.' In this chapter, we discuss how the U.S. government's tactic of deceptive environmental data collection allowed it cover up this massive radioactive release, which remains one of the greatest in the past 35 years.

    • guezilla

      As Jebus pointed out, containment failure for undergound nuclear tests sometimes (I would say "usually") happens. Historically, North Korea's first nuclear test was incredibly "dirty" and the isotope signture was picked up loud and clear across the world.

      In 2009 their alleged second nuclear test didn't lead to picking up any isotopes anywhere in the world, leading to widespread speculation it was in fact a conventional explosives charge used to simulate nuclear explosions:

      In fact, an upcoming nuclear weapons regime would most likely WANT to release significant amount of short-lived isotopes so as to signal to the world that they've joined the nuclear club. On the other hand, in certain political circumstances they might want to maintain plausible deniability for having conducted a nuclear test – due to the seismic signature alone this is quite inefficient, though.

      So my own conclusion is countries like North Korea and Iran would probably aim for siginificant gaseous releases. The only reason they might not want to do this is if they want to hide something about the weapon construction.

  • lam335 lam335

    Does the word "atomic," as opposed to "nuclear," signify an older, cruder technology, or are they simply interchangeable?

    (I've never been sure why the entity that replaced the Atomic Energy Agency was instead called the Nuclear Regulatory Commission).

    • Same same.

      AEA was designed as a promotional organization for nuke.

      The appeared to be a conflict of interest, so they had to do something, so they disbanded the former and created the latter NRC promotion organization.

    • ion jean ion jean

      The second half of the 20th c. was a PR and propaganda explosion for govt…nomenclature was no doubt changed to give "new life" to atomic things around the time nuclear power plants were sprouting like dandelions everywhere you turned…same old dirty tritium shit all over our food supply over and over again…

      N. Korea is so out of touch with reality anyway and seeing as how this seems to be such a difficult and exacting science that the Japan govcorp can't clean up their mess, I doubt NK did much more than dig a hole and drop the thing down in there…we'll have to watch geiger reports in the coming days as the EPA monitors are still broken 😉

    • m a x l i

      @lam335, I read an opinion about this somewhere, but don't know if this correct. In short: "Atomic" is the older, "nuclear" is the newer term. After Hiroshima and Nagasaki "atomic" became a dirty word. To convince everyone that power plants using similar technology are peaceful and harmless and have nothing to do with atom bombs, a new word ("nuclear") was needed.

  • TheBigPicture TheBigPicture

    This testing only wrecks the earth and accomplishes nothing. The U.S. learned it long ago when they wrecked the country. It's a total waste.

    • ion jean ion jean

      I wish you were right about lessons learned but the US never STOPPED nuke testing…see :/

  • Three Eleven Eleven Three Eleven Eleven

    Two important points:

    (1) "North Korea has reprocessed enough plutonium from a nuclear power plant to build as many as a dozen small nuclear explosives, outside analysts estimate."

    From a nuclear power plant ^^^

    (2) "…Pyongyang had started research on a second means of building nuclear weapons, using enriched uranium rather than the reprocessed plutonium…"

    • guezilla

      Their first nuclear test in 2006 had the yield of about $100.000 worth of Ammonium Nitrate, classifying it as a "fizzle" in nuclear weapons terms. This is the well understood problem with using reactor grade plutonium; it would be far cheaper and more efficient to use conventional explosions.

      Of course, it would have siginificant propaganda and terror value nonetheless, although tying irradiated nuclear fuel to stick of dynamite would still be many orders of magnitude more efficient and cheap radiological (dirty) bomb.

      This third nuclear test's blurb as "lighter, miniaturized atom bomb" makes it sound like yet another fizzle, assuming isotope signature detected.

      It is not thought they have the capability of making weapons grade plutonium, see for example "North Korea is not thought to be currently making weapon-grade plutonium."

      On the other hand "The LWR’s core could be designed to optimize the production of weapon-grade plutonium for nuclear weapons through the use of a driver fuel, which could be enriched to 10-20 percent, and targets of natural or depleted uranium in which weapon-grade plutonium would be produced." However, this would reguire their gas centrifuges to be operating at high efficiency, at which point they could just build their bombs from weapons grade uranium instead. But it seems like neither.

    • Uranium could be worse than plutonium:

      Why uranium would make a North Korean nuclear test especially scary
      Posted by Max Fisher on February 8, 2013 at 1:48 pm

      1) Uranium enrichment is easier to hide.
      2) Weapons-grade uranium is easier to ship abroad.
      3) Iran might be able to build a bomb without a nuclear test
      4) North Korea would have two different ways to build a bomb.

      • guezilla

        If you want "scary", try hydrogen bomb:

        Just how this is supposed to be scarier than all the countries already posessing significantly larger nuclear arsenal. Even USA itself is the only country to have used nuclear weapons for war, and as far as I know only country with a doctrine of using nuclear weapons in response to conventional attacks:

        Soviet Union's Tsar Bomba had yield potential of 100 megatons, though Edward Teller, the architecht of the hydrogen bomb suggested 10,000 megaton bomb. For a nation like North Korea to use nuclear weapons against western interest would be complete suicide, even though one would hope the retaliation wouldn't come in the form of a signed nuclear bomb, though it well might as there would be never before seen pressure to make an example.

        There are few regimes or even leaders crazy enough to even contemplate that option, though once again, USSR and USA have problem came closest to it with the Cuban missile crisis for example.

        • Time Is Short Time Is Short

          The scariest bomb of all – The 'Doomsday' Bomb. Now the second scariest.

          "The idea of the cobalt bomb originated with Leo Szilard who publicized it in Feb. 1950, not as a serious proposal for weapon, but to point out that it would soon be possible in principle to build a weapon that could kill everybody on earth. To design such a theoretical weapon a radioactive isotope is needed that can be dispersed world wide before it decays. Such dispersal takes many months to a few years so the half-life of Co-60 is ideal."

          The scariest?

          How about two isotopes that have already been dispersed world wide before it decays, that's had two years to spread it's ugly lethal death, that is still spreading through the air and water? That will continue to spread for decades? That will kill for millions of years? The most lethal man-made isotopes known to man – plutonium and enriched uranium? Trillions upon trillions of lethal doses?

          Thank you, GE.

          • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

            All the nuclear reactors around the world will destroy the earth without anyone detonating any "bomb"s. Whether Chernobyl or Fukushima or any of the other many "accidents", the bombs are already in place and going off one by one or fifty by fifty. Humanity has never and will never be able to handle nuclear reactors safely. Nuclear is the opposite as safe. And still more and more nuclear waste and no way to dispose of it. Talk about insane.

            • moonshellblue moonshellblue

              anne, you are spot on. Geez sixty years to decommission the plant in Florida and then there is all the spent fuel with no means of disposal. Unless there is a miracle or an alien feels we are worth saving I don't see much hope. I know Arnie feels there is a way to have safe operating nuclear facilities, I do not and wish we would shut them all down yesterday but my words don't have any power and I'm a tad disappointed with Arnie Gundersen stating that nukes can be handle safely but perhaps he's just protecting himself and who can blame him considering what he's been through. Ahh off on a tangent thus I digress.

          • guezilla

            A typical BWR assembly weights about 300 kilograms; the Fukushima assemblies have 172 kg of nuclear fuel each. After irradiation in the core, almost 1% of this will become plutonium.

            According to TEPCO Unit 3 had 514 assemblies in fuel pool, and 548 in core, including 32 MOX. Unit 4 had 1533 in fuel pool. These numbers will vary a bit depending on where/when you look, but all in all it comes out to about 2595 assemblies in those two units.

            Assuming through some as of yet unknown feat of physics the whole inventory of those two units vaporized without killing everybody on site and turning whole of the buildings into molten slag, this gives 2595 * 172kg * 0.01 = 4463,4kg of plutonium. Most of this would have been deposited into Fukushima and Japan.

            According to best estimates, approximately 3,830 kilograms of plutonium has been left in the ground as a result of all underground nuclear testing and some 4,200 kilograms of plutonium has been discharged into the atmosphere as a result of atmospheric nuclear testing. In addition it's likely at least as much has been released from leaks and accidents with enrichment facilities and nuclear bombs.

            • Time Is Short Time Is Short

              You're not including what was in units #1 and #2, including the Spent Fuel Pools, without including the potential fires in the Common SFP, with tons more fuel. What didn't go into the air is being washed into the sea through salt water corium-cooling, mixed with aquifer water. Most of this has not been deposited in Fukushima. The great bulk of it has gone into the entire planet's biosphere.

              “A recent study was prepared for Greenpeace Germany by international nuclear safety expert Dr. Helmut Hirsch. Dr. Hirsch’s assessment, based on data published by the French government’s radiation protection agency (IRSN) and the Austrian government’s Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics (ZAMG) found that the total amount of unstable radionuclides Iodine-131 and Caesium-137 released between March 11 and March 23 has been so high that the Fukushima crisis already equates to three INES 7 incidents.

              Release of radiation from the stricken reactors has reached 10,000 teraBequerels (10,000 trillion Bequerels) per hour, measured for radioactive Iodine-131.”


              "Overall, 9 tonnes of fuel was subjected to atomic fission or activation transformation occasioning a prodigious explosion of radioactivity and radiotoxicity which over time, is several times the amount needed to kill by internal contamination the whole human race."


              • Time Is Short Time Is Short

                Fukushima represents 4, possible 5 or 6 world population-killing Cobalt Bombs going off, each one capable of killing all life as we know it. And as those bombs would be a one time event, radiation continues to spew from Fukushima – worldwide within 40 days.

                Atmospheric testing doesn't begin to account for the amount of radiation we are absorbing daily, and is only an attempt to deflect the responsibility of this ELE from a very small group.

                The only question left is, how long will it take?

                “Fukushima Equals 3,000 Billion Lethal Doses"

                “Dr Paolo Scampa, a widely know EU Physicist, single handedly popularized the easily understood Lethal Doses concept. “Lethal Doses” is a world wide, well understood idea that strips Physics bare and offers a brilliant, understandable explanation for all the physics gobbledygook Intelligence agencies and their respective governments use to disguise the brutal truths of the Fukushima Daiichi Disaster."

                "Three thousand billion (3,000,000,000,000) Lethal Doses of Radiation means there are 429 Lethal Doses chasing each and every one of us on the planet, to put it in a nutshell. This is up from about 70 Billion Lethal Doses March 23, 2011. It is getting worse everyday without any intervention by the US and the other nuclear powers….”

                "Note that the lethality of radioactive reactor cores goes up the first 250,000 years they are out of the reactor – not down."


        • Johnny Blade Johnny Blade

          AND "Operation Able Archer"!!~Which saw me as a rookie squid serving on a Spruance-class US Destroyer under the war-friendly command of then-President Ronald Reagan when the EA alert blared alarm messages and had my ship put on alert with "General Quarters" orders to battle stations even though it was being overhauled in the Long Beach,CA Naval shipyard as ICBM's were being primed as joint US/NATO wargames in Europe that coincided with a technical glitch indicating that the West had already launched nuclear weapons in addition to what was mistaken as an actual conventional attack by the West in Europe!!(?) THANKFULLY,it was a pair of Russian radar technician's who spotted the problem and frantically just barely succeeded in convincing TPTB to stand down the nuclear weapons just seconds before the "MAD"doctrine "assured" that the Cold War would become VERY "hot"!!!(?)~FTN!!~ N.Korea was/is perhaps the ONLY nation that might've deserved to have been invaded & "de-fanged" through (conventional)warfare actions & yet they wasted thousands of lives & billions of dollars putting boots on the ground and raining ordnance from the sky on oil-rich,desert wastelands inhabited by goat-herders armed with AK's & RPG's & IED's that wouldn't be used on Westerner's if they weren't there in the Mideast while N.Korea's nuke program progressed unabated because it doesn't hold vast natural resources unlike "the spoils of war" held by Middle Eastern "enemy" nations!!(?)~…

  • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar anne

    This "earthquake" has been upgraded to 5.1:

    5.1 2013/02/12 02:57:51 41.301 129.066 1.0 NORTH KOREA

  • ForwardAssist ForwardAssist

    You can't have a thread like this without posting the following video,

    "A Time-Lapse Map of Every Nuclear Explosion Since 1945 – by Isao Hashimoto"

    Which brings the grand total to 2054 weapons detonated since 1945.

    "The United States conducted around 1,054 nuclear tests (by official count) between 1945 and 1992."
    "The Soviet Union conducted 715 nuclear tests (by official count)[3] between 1949 and 1990, including 219 atmospheric, underwater, and space tests."
    "The United Kingdom has conducted 45 tests (21 in Australian territory, including 9 in mainland South Australia at Maralinga and Emu Field, many others in the U.S. as part of joint test series)."
    "France conducted 210 nuclear tests between February 13, 1960 and January 27, 1996."
    "The People's Republic of China conducted 45 tests (23 atmospheric and 22 underground, all conducted at Lop Nur Nuclear Weapons Test Base, in Malan"
    "India announced it had conducted a test of a single device in 1974 near Pakistan's eastern border under the codename Operation Smiling Buddha. After 24 years, India publicly announced 5 further nuclear tests on May 11 and May 13, 1998. The official number of Indian nuclear tests is 6"

  • ForwardAssist ForwardAssist

    "Pakistan conducted 6 official tests, under 2 different code names, in the final week of May 1998. From 1983 to 1994, around 24 nuclear cold tests were carried out by Pakistan; these remained unannounced and classified until 2000. In May 1998, Pakistan responded publicly by testing 6 nuclear devices."
    "On October 9, 2006 North Korea announced they had conducted a nuclear test in North Hamgyong Province on the northeast coast at 10:36 AM (11:30 AEST). There was a 3.58 magnitude earthquake reported in South Korea.

    On May 25, 2009, North Korea announced having conducted a second nuclear test. A tremor, with magnitude reports ranging from 4.7 to 5.3, was detected at Mantapsan, 233 miles northeast of P'yongyang and within a few kilometers of the 2006 test location."

    Alleged tests.

    "Some recent reports suggest that the Iranian government has developed its own nuclear weapons and conducted two nuclear tests in 2010 in the territory of North Korea with the assistance of its government"

    "In what is known as the Vela Incident, some country may have detonated a nuclear device on September 22, 1979 in the Indian Ocean, according to satellite data. It is not certain whether there was actually a test, or, if it was, who would have been responsible for it, although France,[17] Israel or South Africa are sometimes named."

  • ForwardAssist ForwardAssist

    In countries were some people starve and others submit nearly a third of their income to a government, I cannot call nuclear proliferation anything but a criminal act. And we haven't even talked about the damage to the life forms and environment yet.

    The entire concept is nothing less than clinically psychopathic, which inclines me to post the following documentary, which I hope people watch and comprehend (if they haven't yet).

    "I am Fishead."

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    The US only gets pissed off.. when it isn't the US..or allies.
    Oh..yes..I remember..
    It's do as we say..not as we do..

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    4.9..aye? Heck… Fracking can do that.

    Wastewater from Fracking
    Dec 14 2012
    "Other USGS scientists looked at a series of earthquakes since 2001 in Colorado and New Mexico’s Raton Basin (including a 5.3 earthquake last year). They also presented their results this week, and concluded that these quakes were the result of wastewater injections.

  • jec jec

    A 5.1 from N. Korea nuclear test. Almost makes me wonder about it possible 3/11 was started by a nuclear accident, which then triggered or set off the entire chain of events? Its not like the plant was over a LARGE fault zone..was it? (sarcasm) Its just something every nuclear plant on a fault zone needs to consider. No one builds on a fault zone, do they? (sarcasm

    • Jebus Jebus

      I think that these are the main requirements for building a nuclear plant.

      Build on earthquake fault zone.
      Build on oceanfront property.
      Build overbudget.
      Produce plutonium for nuclear weapons.
      Produce massive amounts of nuclear waste.

      That's it!

      • ion jean ion jean

        I might add to that

        Buy everything you can from China
        Borrow back the money you spent
        Allow China to freely advance their technology with their new found wealth
        And remain major ally to North Korea
        Continue to meddle in Middle East and piss off Iran
        Let North Korea be Iran's nuclear minion


          way to go ion jean. And while we're about it, don't forget to include the foreign aid that's been redirected from its (supposed) humanitarian purpose, to feed the very military we'll be soon going up against. Whenever North Korea was about to implode under its own repressive weight, certain elements knowingly contributed aide, under the pretext that Pyongyang would see the error of their militarist policies. The West deserves what's about to rain down upon our heads…

          • Time Is Short Time Is Short

            "The West deserves what's about to rain down upon our heads…"

            What, Aftershock? More than what's in the rain now? It'll be interesting to see if someone wants to start a war before the radiation starts killing us off in numbers. If I were Asian, I'd just wait a couple of years. They'll outlast us by quite a bit. The world may be saturated, but the US took the worst of it.

            On the other side of the coin, does anyone think the US has acquired the Israeli 'Masada Syndrome'? Now that would be scary.


              interesting thoughts Time Is Short. What you're hinting to, in your closing words, is the Sampson program. As it's now known world-wide that the U.S. government is no longer an autonomous entity, it wouldn't surprise me if their nuclear arsenal isn't wired to hidden bunker that's located beneath Tel Aviv…

  • hbjon hbjon

    I believe it is worth stating here that the goal of thought and action by an individual or country fully intends to produce the survival of that group or person. So where is the error? It has been determined by research using the scientific method that the human analytical mind is utterly incapable of error. If that is the case, where is the problem here? Was the error North Korea built nuclear bombs? Was the error humans dug up and refined uranium? The dinasaur had the goal of survival as its driving force. In an enclosed vessel, yeast will survive on sugar and emit alcohol as waste. When its waste saturates the environment, the yeast dies. Humans are not a pushbutton species, we have an innate ability to identify situations. This ability separates us from every other organism. Where is the error? According to dianetics, the error lies in errouneous or incomplete data. A computer is only as accurate as the interface that feeds it information. People have great difficulty saying," I have new information now and I must release a false system of belief". Paradigms collapse. Anomolies rear their ugly heads.


      excellent thoughts hbjon…

      • hbjon hbjon

        Thanks AFTERSHOCK. Sharing thoughts is a privaledge that can be taken away at any time in a suppressed state. I achieved a high rank in a Korean martial art. I had gotten to know and respect my Master. I can tell you this. Koreans do not retreat in the face of the enemy. Koreans feel threatened and always will feel that way. This feeling causes an insecurity that makes them unpredictable. Interaction with the west without harsh language is a beginning step towards repairing deep and painful wounds.


          appreciate your considerate words, hbjon. Though few Americans can now recall what your nation went through during the forties and fifties, know that a few of us retain great respect for your people. And what the Japanese did to your nation during the forties has long saddened me. I've always respected the Japanese for their strength of character, yet can't restrain myself for hating what they've done to those about them. Hopefully, we'll use these most recent events as an opportunity to work "…towards repairing deep and painful wounds." Of course, that's just me hoping…

          • hbjon hbjon

            Achieving a high rank in a Korean martial art means that I am Korean? I am German/Norwegian/English/Swedish/Irish/French/Scottish and Californian/American. Always on the lookout for evil doers. Hate is a strong word that should be reserved for the most evil of evil doers. Individuals hate that which causes them pain. Countries hate that which affect their survival potential in a negative way. There is always middle ground and a compromise deal to be made. Fresh faces and ideas should probably be employed. It always happens that after a schoolyard fight, when the bloody noses and black eyes heal, the two become great friends and carry on in a positive relationship. With mutual respect. This is the human way. So far, not tried with North Korea.

    • hbjon hbjon

      "the error lies in errouneous or incomplete data." By erroneous, I mean to suggest that a solution had been put in place that had not been thought out completely. Then with hindsight, the action appears to have been in error. The error was not in the computational ability of the human mind. Dangers are only "unforeseen" when there isn't adequate time to put a solution to a problem into action. Wild and wide variables are always taken into consideration by scanning through the standard memory banks for information (data banks?). Information is cross referenced in the human mind faster than any computer that will be constructed for years to come. Some data appears to have been deleted and/or not accessible to the alalytical mind. This is caused by a "demon circuit" L.R.H. On an international level, where is this demon circuit? Anyone?

  • gottagetoffthegrid

    Here's an equation estimating siesmic intensity and bomb yieldd:

    1. Relationship between seismic magnitude and yield of underground nuclear explosion
    The relationship between the seismic magnitude and the yield of a nuclear explosion varies according to local geological conditions. (1) Nonetheless, the following equation is generally applicable in the interpretation of relationship between seismic magnitude and yield of nuclear explosion (less than 120 kt of TNT equivalent (2)) in a hard rock underground nuclear test. (3)

    Mb = 4.262+0.973 logY

    This gives a kick of btn 7 and 8 kT — a third of Hiroshima