From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: N. Korean Cruise Missile
Date: Mon, 13 Jun 1994 16:58:07 GMT
R J Whitaker <R.J.Whitaker@durham.ac.uk> writes:
>Maybe so. But, given that there's some doubt as to whether NK actually
>*has* the bomb or not - and even if it has they'd have trouble mating it
>to a missile so soon after acquiring it, there isn't that much to worry
Yeah, loading a device in the cargo hold of a civilian airliner
and sticking a suicide pilot in the right seat is real tough.
>Also, talk of megatons is misleading - NK only has plutonium and can
>therefore only build a fission bomb which will produce kilotons at most.
>Megatons require fusion which means they need tritium - this is *very*
>hard to come by.
Yep. You need a nuclear reactor to make it. Ooops.....
Actually tritium isn't necessary - it breeds just fine from Li-6 in the
neutronic environment that exists at the instant before thermonuclear
ignition. Tritium is much more handy for boosting the yield of the
fission initiator which permits a physically smaller unit but it is NOT
necessary. A little Li-6, a little deteurium and viola, you're cooking
with gas. Hydrogen that is :-)
>BTW, to build *any* effective nuclear bomb they'll also need some Kryton
>switches and a few rather specialized capacitors, the trade in which is
Nope. krytrons are simply thyratron tubes filled with Krypton-85 gas.
The radioactive gas provides uniform ignition characteristics. Krytrons
are used in some photocopy machines, and in any event, are available
off the shelf here in the US. EG&G will be happy to sell you some and
they're not terribly expensive. A net.friend recently told me he
found some surplus at a ham radio swapfest.
The caps are similarly off-the-shelf low-ESR energy storage devices.
There are many civilian uses for such caps, not the least of which
is high speed stroboscopy.
The concept that the construction of a nuclear device requires parts
made of pure unobtainium is rubbish, a myth promoted by the government
to placate the population.