Has North Korea achieved nuclear fusion? That's the claim made on Wednesday by North Korea's official state media, announcing a feat that no other country in the world--including China, Europe, and the United States--has yet to accomplish: generating large quantities of cheap, clean energy with very little impact on the environment.
The details surrounding the success were reported here, labeling North Korea's new thermo-nuclear reaction device as "artificial sun." Apparently North Korea has moved beyond the usual laboratory tests in its claim, and has actually developed something substantial by creating the device. But according to the state media, the road to success wasn't easy.
"They solved a great many scientific and technological problems entirely by their own efforts without the slightest hesitation and vacillation even under the conditions where everything was in short supply and there were a lot of difficulties, thus succeeding in nuclear fusion reaction at last," read the vague report.
But North Korea's claim has brought on plenty of skepticism, drawing attention to the country's poor economic health, suggesting that North Korea struggles just to generate enough electricity for lighting and other necessities. Nuclear experts are even calling the claims absurd, pointing out that the North's nuclear technology is based on a Soviet-era reactor, borrowing heavily from technology used in the 1940s and 50s.
Kune Y. Suh, a nuclear expert at Seoul National University, called the claim highly inaccurate and grossly exaggerated. "Maybe if two suns show up in the sky tomorrow, then people could believe the claim," Suh said. "They probably conducted some small-scale experiment."