North Korean H-bomb? Not yet, but time is not on our side
By Lt. Gen. Gard, Phil Coyle, and Greg Terryn
Did North Korea successfully test a hydrogen bomb? Not likely. The estimated yield and seismic magnitude are too low, similar to that of the 2013 test, a blast too small to be an H-bomb. A successful two-stage hydrogen bomb, which uses atomic fission to trigger a larger nuclear fusion reaction, can be between several hundred and several thousand times more powerful than the test North Korea conducted.
This does not mean North Korea’s test is insignificant. Every test advances its nuclear weapons program. Also, North Korea likely made progress in reducing the size of its warhead to fit on a missile, solving a key challenge of building a deliverable weapon.