May 12th, 2010
06:35 AM ET

North Korea nuclear claim met with skepticism

North Korea announced Wednesday that its scientists had created a nuclear fusion reaction - a claim nuclear experts quickly cast doubt on.

"Nobody in the world has been able to sustain a controlled nuclear fusion reaction, the ultimate goal of nuclear technology," said Dan Pinkston, head of the Seoul office of the International Crisis Group. "I don't think the North Koreans are going to start ... putting nuclear power vendors around the world out of business any time soon."
Nuclear fusion is the same process that fuels stars, but has never been sustained in the laboratory by any nation, much less one of the poorest nations on earth. If scientists could harness fusion energy, it could become a long-term, inexpensive power source.

The state-run Korean Central News Agency reported the claim that was made in Rodong Shinmun - the North Korean Workers Party newspaper. The paper called it "artificial solar technology," adding the breakthrough represented "the development of new energy desired by humankind."

If North Korea has managed to advance nuclear fusion, it would be shocking development.

In March, an article in Scientific American magazine called "Fusion's False Dawn" said, "Scientists are now uncovering serious engineering challenges that could forestall the construction of such a plant for years to come."

The KCNA reported the process had been achieved on April 15 - "The Day of the Sun" - the birthday of Kim Il Sung, the late founder and "eternal president" of North Korea.

"Given that this is coming from the Rodong Shinmun, it is designed to strengthen the regime," said Dr. Kim Byung-ki, a security expert at Korea University. "The technological aspects have to be taken with a pinch of salt."

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Filed under: North Korea
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Interesting

    Yes doubt it because how could any country but the U.S actually do something.

    May 12, 2010 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
  2. uninteresting

    No. Doubt it because it comes from a nation who can't even produce a working ICBM.

    May 12, 2010 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  3. DIOS

    Some americans believe that just in USA things like this happen. However, the most brilliant scientist, engineers, professionist in USA are foreigns, then, it's to believe that somewhere else, interesting things are going on...

    May 12, 2010 at 11:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Luis Milanese

      And then you think North Korea was capable of such achievement? Do you REALLY believe that? Has it ever came across your head that they might be bluffing?

      May 24, 2010 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jim

    Yes, I believe North Korea has solved the problem, I seem to recall reading in the same article that the North Korea government proclaimed a national crisis because over 98% of all its citizens were 100 lbs overweight from all the food that N.K. produces. The same article also referenced N. Korea's space trip to the sun–when asked how its space craft could survive the heat of the sun, the N. Korean spokesman said "we went at night."

    May 12, 2010 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Dave Althaus

    It was probably just a kim che fart! They are pretty powerful.

    May 12, 2010 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Atracing

    We should all invest all our money into North Korea's energy programs.

    May 13, 2010 at 7:05 am | Report abuse |
  7. mark

    uninteresting, please don't make fun of the north korean dongs.

    May 13, 2010 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
  8. Charles

    @Interesting and DIOS LOL! You had me going! At first I thought that you actually believed that the DPRK did something worthwhile or intelligent! LOL! You guys!!

    May 13, 2010 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Luis Milanese

    Well, in case of doubt, I think North Korea should be nuked back to the stone age.

    May 24, 2010 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
  10. simonriece

    North Korea can't be nuked into the stoneage, as they are functionally in it already.

    May 28, 2010 at 11:44 am | Report abuse |
  11. wonton

    I suggest we take this in a matter of Murphy's Law.
    It could hypothetically happen that N. Korea had developed a successfully sustained and controlled Fusion Reaction, in which case, the countries involved in the U.N. should have a joint-invasion to confiscate such technology so that BP doesn't get put out of business with its revinue shortage... they're losing millions of their current multi-trillion-dollar budget.
    God help N.K. and BP

    June 1, 2010 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |