News & AnalysisNUCLEAR WEAPONS

North Korea's Blast Poses Riddles and Challenges

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Science  22 Feb 2013:
Vol. 339, Issue 6122, pp. 893-894
DOI: 10.1126/science.339.6122.893

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Summary

Last week, North Korea conducted its third nuclear weapons test, detonating a bomb that packed a far more powerful punch than its previous efforts. Speculation is swirling around whether Korea tested a plutonium device, as analysts presume it has done twice previously, or a uranium bomb. As Science went to press, hopes were fading that nuclear sleuths would sample shortlived radioactive fission products venting from the underground test site, which would reveal the nature of the bomb.