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Newsgroups: sci.military
From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: N. Korean Cruise Missile
Date: Mon, 13 Jun 1994 16:58:07 GMT

R J Whitaker <> 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 
>rigourously controlled. 

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.


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