Already, the moonbats are out there trying to say "maybe it wasn't really a nuke... the blast was too small... it might have been a bunch of TNT... it's a scam... it's a conspiracy... there's no WMD's..." etc.
People, please. This is my area of expertise. It was a nuke.
At ~0.8 kT, it was relatively small. That's about 1/20 the yield of the Hiroshima bomb. But that's still one hell of a blast. It would devastate an area as small - but as important - as downtown NYC. It would wipe out an entire military installation. It would penetrate a fortified underground bunker. It would irradiate a population center. And it would be next to impossible to produce such a blast with conventional explosives.
Here is the problem:
If you try to make a really, really big bomb with conventional explosives, you run into a huge problem getting all the explosives to detonate simultaneously. If you try to set them all off at once with a single trigger, what ends up happening is that the shock-wave from the exploding material right next to the trigger pushes aside the material further out, scattering undetonated material. Imagine a string of Black Cats. Imagine one in the middle going off, splitting the string, and leaving you with two partial strings that don't go off.
You can set off a huge amount of explosives in a chain, where (like the Black Cats), one portion sets off the next portion and so on. Problem is, you don't get one big blast. You get a succession of small blasts. It looks good (imagine war footage of a series of blasts going on down a line), but it won't do the same type of damage as one big blast. Imagine running into a brick wall a hundred times on foot, compared to hitting a brick wall once with bull dozer. Or imagine setting off a bunch of dynamite atop a fortified bunker, one stick at a time. Not going to make much impact. It's also not going to have the same seismic profile. The shock-wave wouldn't register half-way around the world like an atomic bomb does.
There is a reason why conventional bombs have never come close to the blasting power of even a small, crude nuclear device. The most powerful non-nuclear bomb ever set off, the MOAB, is about 1/40 the size of this nuke. And we have yet to successfully set off two of them together, because the blast of the first one going off would destroy the second one and prevent it from exploding properly.
Now, people may think that this blast was so small for a nuke that we should be laughing at the ineptitude of the North Koreans. However, this is false.
Yes, it was relatively small. But remember, this was a TEST. They were testing to see whether their design and build work. And weapons grade plutonium is not a cheap thing you can throw around willy nilly. When you are testing something that uses up expensive and hard-to-replace materials, you test on a small scale. If the small-scale test gives you the yields you are hoping for, you can move ahead to the next level, which is usually an order of magnitude greater in scale. And even still, at ~0.8 kT, this was a bigger blast than we get from our smaller, bunker-busting nuclear devices (~0.5 kT).
Given the data that we have right now, I think we can safely conclude that a nuclear explosion did take place, and the North Koreans are capable of immediately going into production of bombs comparable to the Hiroshima bomb. And once they are able to produce devices which can consistently yield 20 kT or more - and it seems they aren't far off - they are literally only a tritium source away from producing hydrogen bombs and increasing the yields another order of magnitude into true absolute city-killing range.
This is a big, big deal.
And considering that Oregon has a useless Governor who fails to understand what Homeland Security really means, considering that Portland has an obstructionist Mayor who undermines Homeland Security by every means possible, and considering that the Port of Portland is one of the most important shipping centers in the world, we should all be very, very afraid of what might happen. It would be very, very easy for Kim Jung Il to put a nuke on a boat and sail it right up the Columbia. And by the nature of nuclear explosions, there wouldn't be much in the way of forensic evidence left to figure out what went wrong.
Keep that in mind when marking up your ballot, and choosing between people like democrat and stalwart anti-Bush obstructionist Peter DeFazio, and Republican and veteran counter-terrorism expert Jim Feldkamp...