The BBC demonstrate remarkable care in announcing the reports from the DPRK State News Agency (KCNA) of an underground nuclear explosion ("test"). ....." North Korea claims nuclear test".
The North Koreans were a bit more upbeat and said the "test" was an, "historic event that brought happiness to our military and people".
"The nuclear test will contribute to maintaining peace and stability in the Korean peninsula and surrounding region,"
The US Geological Survey (USGS) detected a 4.2 magnitude quake in North Korea that coincided with the claimed test but so far USGS official Bruce Presgrave of the Colorado-based agency was unable to tell whether the event was the result of an atomic explosion or a natural earthquake.
South Korea's Yonhap news agency locates the test site at Gilju in Hamgyong province at 1036 (0136 GMT). South Korea's Foreign Ministry said it had detected a seismic tremor of 3.58 on the Richter scale that it believes was a nuclear explosion.
President Putin criticised the action and his aises expressed the view that the explosion was equivalent to a 5-10 kiloton explosion - a Nagasaki size bang.
Don't expect much truth from the Western Gubment 's their puppet regimes or their news sources. Lord Patel's sources refuse to believe that the DPRK have the materials (Plutonium), the engineering skills and certainly not the very sophisticated remote sensing, and analytical equipment , tools and experience to benefit from an underground test. It is not difficult to find informed comments that agree with Lord Patel..."The BBC's diplomatic correspondent Jonathan Marcus says North Korea's claimed test does not necessarily mean it has a fully-fledged nuclear bomb or warhead that it can deliver to a target."
In the unlikely (and it is VERY unlikely) event that the Dear Leader's mad scientists have set off a giant atomic firework, it is an immensely complicated step to making a device which can be air launched with any accuracy - or success... of course the original concepts of delivery included ship borne devices sailed like fire ships into harbours and detonated - rather like the fire ships that destroyed the remnants of the Spanish Armada.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese President Hu Jintao at their meeting in Beijing over the weekend publicly agreed that Japan and China could not jontly accept North Koreas undertaking a a nuclear test .
Japan said officially if the test was confirmed it would be a "grave threat", (which coincided with the arrival in South Korea of Shinzo Abe ), China denounced the North Korean action as "brazen".
The White House condemned North Korea's nuclear test as a "provocative act", and issued a statement on October 3rd "A North Korean test of a nuclear weapon would severely undermine our confidence in North Korea's commitment to denuclearization and to the Six Party Talks and would pose a threat to peace and security in Asia and the world."
The South Korean armed forces have been put on a heightened state of alert, and President Roh Moo-hyun has called an emergency meeting of the National Security Council... and they have burnt pictures of the Dear Leader.
US/UK Nuclear testing continues
Few people will be aware that the US and the UK performed a sub-critical underground nuclear test in Nevada on Thursday 23rd February 2006, the second by the UK (the last one in February 2002) - and the 9th by the Bush Administration.
After this test the Los Alamos National Laboratory and Britain's Atomic Weapons Establishment ''successfully'' undertook the experiment in an underground laboratory of horizontal tunnels about 290 metres beneath the surface of Nevada.
The US argues that subcritical tests do not involve a nuclear chain reaction and are necessary to ensure the safety of nuclear stockpiles and are fully consistent with the nuclear test moratorium it has maintained since 1992.
At the time the term "sub-critical" was explained - ' No critical mass is formed and no self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction can occur, thus, there is no nuclear explosion.'' Such tests ''examine the behaviour of plutonium as it is strongly shocked by forces produced by chemical high explosives".
So that's alright then.
Nuclear Testing, re - commenced under Clinton
On 2 July,1997 (Siesmograph trcaes of DPRK explosion supplied by Japanese) (Under the Clinton Administration) the US Department of Energy (DOE) conducted the first of an initial series nuclear experiments at its Nevada test site. At the time the US non-governmental organisation (NGO) Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) heavily criticised the Clinton Administration. The group's Director of Security Programs, Robert W. Tiller said on 1st July:
"Since the United States is committed to ending nuclear testing, we do not need to do these subcritical tests. It is outrageous for the US to continue these needless and expensive tests at a time when we should be setting an example of disarmament."
Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki both voiced criticism. Hiroshima's Mayor, Takashi Hiraoka, complained:"The United States says it aims to secure the safety of nuclear weapons, but this represents their strong intention to continue possessing nuclear arms.."
The Mayor of Nagasaki, Itcho Ito, also strongly critcised the test : "Efforts of people concerned have been bearing fruit toward a nuclear test ban, but the experiment will make them meaningless."
For offical discussion and explanation of "subcritical testing" at time of tests in 2004, go here.
Oh by the way, The Foreign Office took a "robust" view ..."provocative"blah, blah, blah.
The bottom line is, that DPRK is in a desperate state economically, the Gubment cannot feed, heat, house, transport it's population and are attempting a pathetic blackmail of the West for economic assistance .... who have sustained a blockade for decades to drive the country into the Stone Age.
The Chinese of course are desperate that they do not become flooded by economic, illiterate refugees.
The horizontal-pendulum seismograph was of course invented by John Milne of Milnrow, Rochdale, and he is known in Japan as the "Father of Seismography".