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North Korea Announces Achieving Nuclear Fusion 372

Posted by samzenpus
from the kim-jong-illin dept.
aftertaf writes "North Korea claims to have achieved nuclear fusion by building what it describes as a 'unique thermo-nuclear reaction device.' This announcement was met by skepticism on just about every news website this side of Saturn. Pyongyang claims its latest scientific breakthrough coincides with the birthday of the country's founder and eternal president Kim Il-sung. This is not the first time it seems that the laws of nature have been bent in his honor. According to official biographies, when his son, Kim Jong-il, was born, a new star appeared in the sky." No doubt the Dear Leader combined the atomic nuclei by hand.

*

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North Korea Announces Achieving Nuclear Fusion

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  • by gyrogeerloose (849181) on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @01:39PM (#32184388) Journal

    The mothers of both Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons received Mother's Day card from their sons postmarked Pyongyang.

    • Fusion is easy. (Score:5, Informative)

      by Futurepower(R) (558542) <MJennings.USA@NOT_any_of_THISgmail.com> on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @04:02PM (#32186004) Homepage
      Note that experimenters have built Tokamaks and achieved fusion. Fusion is easy. Getting more power out than is put in is difficult.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        that's actually not that difficult at all. Hydrogen bombs are uncontrolled fusion in action. Now, producing usable energy, however...
  • by Erythros (140001) on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @01:39PM (#32184392)

    Always impersonating that guy from MAD TV??

  • by billstewart (78916) on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @01:40PM (#32184408) Journal

    We know North Korea hasn't released any very hot vaporware lately, so obviously they've perfected Cold Fusion!

  • by PhxBlue (562201) on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @01:41PM (#32184420) Homepage Journal
    It was actually an American spy satellite parked in geosynchronous orbit over North Korea. Wave for the cameras, Kim!
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @02:20PM (#32184880)

      ROR!!!

  • Fusion isn't hard. (Score:5, Informative)

    by pushing-robot (1037830) on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @01:41PM (#32184432)

    You could build the equipment [wikipedia.org] yourself.

    Getting more energy out of fusion than you put in... that's the hard part.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by MaskedSlacker (911878)

      This was my thought--so what if they did? We did it more than 50 years ago, the Teller-Ulam designed warhead dates to 1951. Fusing two atoms is trivial.

      • by hitmark (640295)

        it just takes a fission to get the fuse lit...

        • The Teller-Ulam design uses that, but a basic particle accelerator would work too.

        • by RsG (809189) on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @02:05PM (#32184724)

          it just takes a fission to get the fuse lit...

          Not even. Read the GP's wiki link for a description of a "Farnsworth fusor" (not the Farnsworth you're thinking of, but rather his namesake). Making fusion reactions occur is trivially easy, to the point where there exists at least one hobbyist who's made a fusor in his basement. Betcha that's what NK has built, and the claim of it being a "unique thermo-nuclear reaction device" was likely tacked on by some lackey in the propaganda department. Again, old news in the fusion world, as fusors aren't useful for much other than proof of concept.

          Getting a net gain in energy with a fusion reaction? Hard. The only way we've done it to date is in a thermonuclear warhead, and I guarantee Pyongyang doesn't have one of those yet, since they've had enough trouble getting basic fission bombs built.

          • On contrary, I think that is is "wink wink, nudge nudge, btw we have H-bombs now, beware cowards!" anouncement.

            • by RsG (809189) on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @02:41PM (#32185086)

              Nah, they wouldn't be that subtle. Recall that they made a big fuss over "we have the bomb now", only to have their first actual test detonation fizzle.

              Besides, if they were testing H-bombs, there would be third party confirmation. They cannot set off a nuke, never mind a big nuke, without setting off seismic detectors from India to California.

          • by JoshuaZ (1134087) on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @02:29PM (#32184972) Homepage
            Fusors actually do have practical uses. Fusors have been used commercially as a compact neutron source that can be turned on or off easily. Note that the other commercial neutron sources of a similar sort actually also use fusion. They work by using a linear accelerator to collide deuterium and tritium.
          • by Hal_Porter (817932) on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @02:35PM (#32185006)

            Your stupid Earth mind cannot conceive power of Kim Il Sung Juche Physics.

            Unless you send FIVE (5) million tonnes of rice, TEN POINT TWO (10.2) million tonnes of kimchi, FIFTY FOUR POINT SIX (54.6) million tonnes of ramen now you will be destroyed by my Solanite bombs.

            • by WNight (23683) on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @04:54PM (#32186622) Homepage

              HELLO

              We name is PRINCE WUNDAI, my family is ONE OF the largest farmer in Nigeria. Father was captured by Warlord who is trying to steal our family fortune. To secure our family, decided we are to looking for a country we can trust to help us smuggle the grain to a safe location.

              We picked your country, NORTH KOREA, because of your honest reputation. We'd like to offer you 50% (HALF) of the grain for your help in securing the rest against warlords and USA aggression.

              The grain is packed on ships, waiting on the name of a port to deliver it to.

              We need only small bribes for the Somalian pirates to let our ships pass, and we will be on our way.

              Please help us, KIM JONG IL

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by TheSHAD0W (258774)

            It's also possible they've assembled one of Bussard's whiffleball fusors [rexresearch.com]. Not tremendously complicated, and if you threw a couple hundred million at it (assuming the theory behind it were correct) you might get a practical reactor.

      • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @01:56PM (#32184634) Homepage Journal

        This was my thought--so what if they did? We did it more than 50 years ago, the Teller-Ulam designed warhead dates to 1951. Fusing two atoms is trivial.

        Hey, let's not burden the journalists with dry facts.

    • They *laughed* when I said my Christmas decorations would wow them this year!

    • by astar (203020)

      As you say. I RTFA and it hardly made any claim, except perhaps optimism. Even in US advertising, puffery is not actionable.

      But I recalling hearing there were perhaps a 100 sort of credible low-cost approaches. Pick one, spend a million dollars, and you could have scientific feasibility. I suspect their cost structure is different than ours, so they could have tried a number of approaches. Given that they did nukes, I am not sure really poor need be a big thing to get to feasibility. But whoever in th

    • by LWATCDR (28044)

      I wounder if they actually funded a Polywell reactor? If so someone needs to slap around the DOE and DOD.

    • by nizo (81281) * on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @02:36PM (#32185020) Homepage Journal

      Actually at the next press announcement they are going to show the actual device, but they have to wait for it to rise first.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by monoi (811392)

      Actually, that's also possible [wikipedia.org]. In theory [wikipedia.org], it could even be done without a fission primary.

      Now, doing it in a controlled and sustained way, that's a bit more difficult [wikipedia.org].

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cgenman (325138)

      I was going to say, why is everyone laughing this off? It's very unlikely to be true. But we seem to be laughing at it because "our scientists are obviously better than their scientists."

      Yes, it's probably BS. But it isn't BS until it is disproven. And yes, there isn't anything there to disprove right now. And sure, we haven't been able to achieve net positive fusion yet. Net negative fusion is pretty easy. I wouldn't expect useful fusion to be achieved by the old methods. I would expect it to come

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @01:42PM (#32184434)

    In North Korea, anything is possible.

  • by Blakey Rat (99501) on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @01:42PM (#32184440)

    In other news, power in Pyongyang will only be available from 5:00 - 7:00 PM this week in celebration of the achievement.

    • by Spaham (634471) on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @02:41PM (#32185092)

      you mean : in celebration of the achievement, power WILL be available from 5:00 - 7:00 PM this week !!

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by khallow (566160)
        Copious and plentiful electric power is always available. Only enemies of our glorious leader would say otherwise. Please step outside and shout "I'm a capitalist sympathizer" until dawn so that our efficient protectors of society can find and bring you to justice.
  • by ad454 (325846) on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @01:43PM (#32184450)

    No doubt the Dear Leader combined the atomic nuclei by hand.

    No doubt that he is small enough to have done it.

    • Of course, his cute little puppet hands would do the trick. Being created by those wacky South Park Puppeteers Matt Stein and Trey Parkhurst has its advantages. Team America, although huge dicks, should be alerted post haste!

      In other news; I have just perfected Quantum Computing and the language of the Quantum Computer; QBasic, but am waiting to announce it on my birthday. We are still trying to license Q-Bert for our mascot. Stay tuned and subscribe to my newsletterings!

  • by SloWave (52801) on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @01:45PM (#32184484) Journal

    I figured he would have took credit for creating fusion when that new star appeared when his son was born.

  • Already done (Score:2, Interesting)

    by aBaldrich (1692238)
    In 1949 one of the several nazi leaders that fled to Argentina claimed to have achieved nuclear fussion [wikipedia.org]. The president, a fascist who welcomed Mengele and Eichman, was not stupid, and a couple of months later he called a group of argentinian scientists back from europe to open an investigation, which led to the end of the project and the beginning of real atomic research.
  • I thought the dear leader was busy flying fighter jets, memorizing phone books, breaking golf records, and leading the NBA in rebounding.

    If he can do nuclear fusion as well, then perhaps his talents truly are limitless.
    • Clones.

    • I thought the dear leader was busy flying fighter jets, memorizing phone books, breaking golf records, and leading the NBA in rebounding.

      No, you've got that wrong. Kim Il-sung is only in second place for NBA rebounds.

  • by notommy (1793412) on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @01:46PM (#32184504)

    >> This announcement was met by skepticism on just about every news website this side of Saturn.
    Sure! Make it sound like we on the other side of Saturn will believe anything. That's planetism sir!

  • What if.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mikael_j (106439) on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @01:49PM (#32184534)

    For some reason I can't help but think that it would be hilarious and kind of scary if everyone chuckles a bit at this and in a couple of months news reports come in saying that for some strange reason the long-running North Korean energy crisis seems to have been solved...

    • by mi (197448)

      for some strange reason the long-running North Korean energy crisis seems to have been solved...

      ... by all the American stomachs roasted by the mujahedeen in Hell....

      Oh, wait, that's from another regime's ministry of information.

    • Makes you wonder what would happen then. I'm guessing a small nuke would go off in their research area, which the west would blame on their own experiments. At the same time, all nations of moderate or higher economic means would dump research into the subject under the idea that "if North Korea could do it, so can we".
    • If North Korea's done this in any meaningful way, then their economic troubles are over. They won't be asking for aid or concessions, they'll be getting rich selling energy and possibly even technology. They won't be testing missiles, they'll be developing frickin' laser beams.

      I have my doubts, though.

      • Would their problems be over? If it's something NK can produce, then it's a matter of a clever trick, not sophistocated technology. If they sold one to anyone else, then the secret gets out, and the game is over. If they don't sell one to anyone else, all they can sell is electrical power. And transmission technology limits how much and how far you could sell infinitely cheap power until it becomes cheaper to just generate it locally with Coal. Even if it's true, it seems kind of like a cave-man with a
    • by elrous0 (869638) * on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @02:10PM (#32184774)
      Actually, North Korea has already done an amazing job of keeping down energy use. By restricting electricity to a handful of elites and starving everyone else, they've been able to reduce their carbon footprint to almost nothing. Just look at the results [globalsecurity.org]. Glorious leader has produced a much more efficient country than that wasteful South Korea!
    • No, it would be a great thing. Even if they are our 'enemy,' it is clear by this point that they don't actually want to fight us, and the technology would eventually make it to the rest of the world, much faster than it is the way we are doing it.

      Of course, they didn't invent it, but if.......
    • There was a small problem with reactor. There is no more North Korea. Film at 11. Now, the latest sports scores. Back to you Mike!

    • For some reason I can't help but think that it would be hilarious and kind of scary if everyone chuckles a bit at this and in a couple of months news reports come in saying that for some strange reason the long-running North Korean energy crisis seems to have been solved...

      Well, North Koren could release another news report saying just that very thing and if nothing else satellite imagery could verify at least that much of the story by looking at North Korea at night.

      But anyway, if they were able to do it, which I doubt, that would mean that it definitely can be done, it's just a matter of figuring out how to do it. Right now nobody knows if it's really even possible to do it or not. The main surprise to me is that they didn't give the Dear Leader credit for the breakt

      • One day North Korea will fall apart and it will reunite with South Korea and then we're going to have a lot of seriously pissed off North Koreans who simply cannot believe that they fell for all that crap about the Kims for so long.

        I think it's more likely we'll have a bunch of confused North Koreans who don't understand why the rest of the world does not believe all the great things their "dear leader" has done - and probably alot of cults that try to spread their Kim-jong-il beliefs to "save" everyone.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @01:51PM (#32184558)

    The breakthrough was made with a hammer and a small amount of nitroglycerin. The reaction released a great deal of energy and as soon as they can aford a new hammer they hope to continue testing.

  • by PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @01:51PM (#32184566)

    . . . eat and drink enough of that, and your breath can cause nuclear fusion.

    . . . and you don't even want to know about "The Day After" . . .

    . . . that picture is not a fake . . . Mr. Kim has just "let one rip" . . .

  • So now DPRK propaganda makes it to slashdot?

    I can live with that, but I really want to know where I can buy a pair of those glasses. It was only a month ago when they revealed that Kim Jong Il was setting fashion trends around the world [abcnews.com], so I'd like to sport those glasses. The retro aviator style glasses are out, Kim Jong Il's glasses are IN.
  • He's fused clown essence. Something smells funny.
  • If you listen to some people, the west has been wasting a lot of money on things like ITER, when some cheaper, less brute-force, approaches could work better. If they're right, then a country that doesn't have the resources to try the large-scale experiments might have more success.

    On the other hand, given the veracity of past press releases from North Korea, this reactor might be powered by powdered unicorn.

  • Star at birth (Score:5, Interesting)

    by schmidt349 (690948) on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @02:02PM (#32184690)

    In ancient Greece and Rome, it wasn't unusual for someone to claim either that a new star appeared in the sky to herald a great person's birth or that they became a star following their death. This latter claim is known as catasterism and was pretty popular from the time of the Hellenistic kings to the Julio-Claudian dynasty at Rome.

    Catasterism is a frequent subject on coin portraits, with a star positioned about the portrait of the ruler. There is a very famous series of coins depicting Augustus fastening a star above the head of Marcellus, the man he had hoped would succeed him.

    Of course the import of all of this is that, as with so much else, North Korea is about 2,000 years behind the times.

  • Didn't they claim to have cured cancer at some point, too?

    -jcr

  • Isn't this more like "plasmaware"?
  • Combine this with his deadly panthers, and I'm all scared, Scoob!

  • Corrigendum (Score:5, Funny)

    by blair1q (305137) on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @02:30PM (#32184982) Journal

    Upon consultation with actual Koreans, it turns out that the original press release said that North Korea had "nuked a Frusion".

    The BBC apologizes for this error.

  • by Improv (2467) <pgunn@dachte.org> on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @02:36PM (#32185026) Homepage Journal

    How could we doubt someone with sunglasses that are so cool?

  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @02:48PM (#32185162) Homepage Journal

    A few years ago N Korea detonated a gigantic explosion that it claimed was nuclear (fission). Now it's claiming controlled fusion.

    These claims are impossible to believe, since N Korea lies about so much. But it did demonstrate a gigantic explosion. What in fact is going on there in N Korea?

  • by swschrad (312009) on Wednesday May 12, 2010 @05:22PM (#32186882) Homepage Journal

    As all universe obeys Beloved Leader, atoms fused, creating clean, pure energy with no neutrons, no MSG, and no trans-fats.

    Wonderful new creation for used in distillation of brandy.

    -- babelfish from Nut Korean World News

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