Comparisons Don’t Support North Korea’s Claims of a Hydrogen Bomb, Experts Say
By William J. Broad
Many nuclear experts, including Dr. Kim, Dr. Ford and Mr. Albright, suggested that the North Korean test might have involved putting a tiny amount of tritium, or heavy hydrogen, into the core of an atom bomb. Such a technique is known as boosting.
But such a boosted device, by definition, is not a true H-bomb, even though the added thermonuclear reactions can modestly increase its destructive power.
Philip E. Coyle III, a nuclear expert who directed the Alaskan H-bomb test of November 1971, said the seismic signature of the North Korean test was “low enough so that it will be difficult to tell if the device was boosted, thermonuclear, just fission or whatever.”