WASHINGTON – While North Korea on Wednesday was hyperbolically bragging about having exploded a test hydrogen bomb, some nuclear weapons experts were downplaying the event because of its low-kiloton yield and relatively small seismic wave.
In fact, the White House said the results from various monitors simply weren’t consistent with a hydrogen bomb, which can be far more powerful than an atomic bomb.
But one top specialist says the monitor results and North Korea’s claims align fully with the scenario of a device designed for a low yield, yet emitting an enhanced amount of gamma rays.
Peter Pry, an expert on electromagnetic pulse weapons, told WND the explosion indeed was such a device.
Pry said Pyongyang’s latest test, which followed three others each in the range of 10 kilotons or less, was “another kind of H-Bomb,” a neutron bomb, or enhanced radiation weapon such as a super-EMP weapon.
Such weapons constitute, essentially, a “very low-yield H-Bomb that typically has yields of 1-10 kilotons, just like the North Korean device,” he said.
North Korea has been conducting underground nuclear tests since February 2013, all of which have been of low-kiloton yield.
Pry previously has warned that Pyongyang was working on a low-yield radiation bomb with very high emissions of gamma rays.
A year ago, Pry told WND that North Korea was working on such a device, but that the Obama administration denied it had developed miniaturized nuclear warheads and missiles to deliver them.
The denial, Pry said, came despite an assessment by both the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency that such do indeed exist.
“President Obama himself began this big lie amidst the 2013 nuclear crisis when North Korea was threatening to make nuclear missile strikes against the U.S. and its allies,” Pry said.
Pry is a former analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency and a former staff director of the congressionally mandated EMP commission that examined the likely effects of an EMP on the U.S. national grid system and unprotected electronics. He also is the executive director of the congressional advisory Task Force on National and Homeland Security and the U.S. Nuclear Strategy Forum.
Pry, like other experts on EMP, was concerned that the North Koreans could launch a missile with a satellite that could constitute a nuclear device designed to explode on command at a high altitude over a highly populated area of a highly technical society such as the United States.
Such an explosion would be capable of knocking out the nation’s already vulnerable electrical grid system and all of the life-sustaining critical infrastructures that depend on it. From food supply chains, fuel supply systems, communications, banking and more, all grid-dependent systems could suffer.
Pry is author of the recent book, “Blackout Wars,” which focuses on EMP-related lessons learned and what the several states are doing on their own initiative, “because of Washington’s lethargy in dealing with this existential threat,” according to former Ambassador Henry F. Cooper, who was the first director of the Strategic Defense Initiative under former President George H. W. Bush.
“It should be understood that the challenge is almost entirely political – technical solutions have been known for a half century and expected expenses are relatively minor,” Cooper said.
North Korea said it had detonated an underground hydrogen bomb, drawing immediate condemnation from the United States, Britain, Japan, South Korea and even China, which until now was thought to have some influence over the North Korean leadership.
However, China was apparently not advised of the detonation beforehand.
North Korea’s KCNA website made the announcement that it had tested a “miniaturized” hydrogen bomb “in the most perfect manner.”
“(North Korean leader) Kim Jong-un could be telling the truth,” Pry told G2Bulletin. “Indeed, all four North Korean nuclear tests look like a super-EMP weapon because of their very low yield. That the ‘Dear Leader’ described the latest test as an H-Bomb is further evidence that North Korea’s mysterious nuke is a super-EMP warhead.”
Pry was referring to a so-called enhanced radiation weapon, or neutron bomb, designed to generate enhanced gamma rays which in turn cause the super-EMP effect.
An H-bomb of identical explosive yield of a fission, or atomic, bomb is a neutron bomb that will emit some 10 times the amount of neutron radiation. In an atomic device, the total radiation pulse energy composed of gamma rays and neutrons is only 5 percent of the entire energy released.
In a neutron bomb, it is closer to 40 percent. In addition, the neutrons emitted by a neutron bomb have a much higher average energy level than those released during a fission reaction.
North Korea previously has threatened the U.S. with a nuclear attack, broadcasting dramatized videos of such attacks on the U.S. Capitol and the White House.
Pyongyang, through its KCNA website, also said it will continue developing nuclear weapons until the U.S. drops its “vicious, hostile” policy to isolate the Hermit Kingdom.
“The U.S. is a gang of cruel robbers which has worked hard to bring even a nuclear disaster to the DPRK (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea), not content with having imposed the thrice-cursed and unheard-of political isolation, economic blockade and military pressure on it for the mere reason that it has differing ideology and social system,” according to the KCNA statement.
“The present-day grim reality clearly proves once again the immutable truth that one’s destiny should be defended by one’s own efforts,” the statement added. “Nothing is more foolish than dropping a hunting gun before herds of ferocious wolves.”