Experts: North Korea years away from nuclear bomb
North Korea recently conducted its third nuclear test, but the country is still years from directly threatening the United States. Hans Kristensen, the director of nuclear information at the Federation of American Scientists, said that while North Korea's tests demonstrated a bomb much less powerful than the ones dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, a bomb of that size could still be a real threat, TechNewsDaily reports.
"Seven kilotons would do a lot of damage in downtown Seoul," Kristensen said, according to TechNewsDaily.
The February 12 test results showed an explosion equal to approximately 6,000 to 7,000 tons of high explosive. The test marked a major jump by a factor of three or more from previous North Korean tests.
Kristensen said that while North Korea can pull off big explosions, making a nuclear weapon is different. The country still faces design challenges, a lack of resources and weapon delivery system development before it will be able to create a nuclear weapon, TechNewsDaily reports.
While there has been talk of taking out North Korea's nuclear facilities or launch pads, it is possible that not all of the country's nuclear facilities are known by the U.S. In addition, a military assault on North Korea could result in the country firing on South Korea with conventional or chemical weapons.