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India's N-tests were success, no repeat needed: top scientists

delhi Updated: Sep 24, 2009 22:19 IST
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India's May 1998 nuclear tests were fully successful and helped the country achieve capability to build fission and thermonuclear fusion weapons and there was no need to carry out any more tests, two top scientists said on Thursday.

In a joint statement, Anil Kakodkar, chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) and R. Chidambaram, principal scientific advisor to the government, responded point-by-point to all doubts and questions raised by retired scientists K. Santhanam and PK Iyengar on the five tests conducted at Pokharan, Rajashtan, on May 11 and 13, 1998.

The two top officials of India's nuclear energy establishment maintained that the Pokhran-II had achieved the desired scientific objectives.

The two scientists also spoke to mediapersons on the controversy created by Santhanam, a former Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) scientist who had coordinated the nuclear tests but now says that the thermonuclear device test was a failure.

Kakodkar said that on the basis of the capability, India had the ability to meet national security requirements and does not require carrying out more such tests.

Chidambaram, the architect of Pokhran-II, said that several yield measurements had confirmed the yields from the tests.

He added that noted US seismologist Jack Evernden had made estimations of the tests taking into consideration geological and seismological differences between the test sites and they tallied with India's results.

Chidambaram stressed that several research papers have been written on the test results and have been peer-reviewed in reputed international journals.

Now, he said, India also has the computer simulation capability to predict the yields of nuclear weapons - fission, boosted fission and two-state thermonuclear - of designs related to the May 1998 tests.

He pointed out that even Iyengar had agreed with the yield of the tests.

Though Iyengar does not dispute yield of the thermonuclear test, the conclusions drawn by him on the efficiency were "purely speculative in nature", according to Chidambaram.

"Our results were so accurate that we announced the yield on the same day of the explosion, which no other country has done as science has evolved in the past two decades," he said.

Chidambaram wondered how, without the knowledge of the design, the nature of fission-fusion break-up and quantity of thermo-nuclear material, Iyengar could calculate the efficiency the fuel burnt as 10 percent.

"No one outside the design team had the data to calculate fission-fusion yield break-up or any other significant parameter related to fusion burn," he said. The size of the crater depended on the depth of burial of the nuclear device and nature of the rock medium.

Chidambaram said that India was the only country which had given out so much information on the tests and no more data could be revealed due to proliferation-related sensitivities.