Disturbing facts about the destructive capabilities of hydrogen bombs

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The world faces new fears of nuclear war after North Korea claimed on Sunday to have successfully tested a hydrogen bomb. Now, questions about the strength of their arsenal have been raised.

According to North Korean authorities, the hydrogen bomb (H-bomb) tested is intended to be mounted on an intercontinental ballistic missile. The rogue nation’s continued testing of missiles and nuclear capable weaponry has led to ever increasing tensions between North Korea and the United States.

A report, first appearing in the New York Daily News, lists the capabilities of an H-bomb and why it’s detonation is a serious concern:

Thermonuclear weapons, which include hydrogen bombs, are 1,000 times more powerful than atomic bombs — like those the U.S. dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima in Japan during World War II, according to Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). Those bombings in 1945 killed more than 200,000 people.

Atomic bombs rely on nuclear fission, which splits an atom into smaller units, to release energy, according to LANL.

Hydrogen bombs “use a fission bomb to start a fusion reaction where light nuclei, with few protons and neutrons, join together and release energy,” the center says.

According to the report, if North Korea can produce an H-bomb that has the capability of being attached to an intercontinental ballistic missile, it would be a powerful weapon of destruction. In July, experts agreed that a successful missile test indicated North Korea’s arsenal may pose a threat to the U.S.

If it has an H-bomb, North Korea would join the U.S., U.K., France, Russia, and China as nations that have successfully tested a bomb with such a devastatingly destructive power.

A hydrogen bomb has never been used by one nation against another nation, reportedly. The U.S. was responsible for the world’s first H-bomb test, conducted on Eniwetok Island in the Pacific in 1952. The following year, the Soviet Union tested an H-bomb of its own. By the late 1970’s, seven countries had constructed hydrogen bombs.

The U.S., U.K., France, Russia, and China have all signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty, meant to limit the spread of nuclear weapons. Three countries – Israel, Pakistan and India – are believed to have fission bombs, according to the report.

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