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Nuclear Thread - 4
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Pokhran-II thermonuclear test, a failure
K. Santhanam
Ashok Parthasarathi
This factual analysis reveals India’s decade-long, grim predicament regarding the failed TN bomb and so our Credible Minimum Deterrent (CMD). No country having undertaken only two weapon related tests of which the core TN device failed, can claim to have a CMD. This is corroborated by fact that even after 11 years the TN device has not been weaponised by BARC while the 25 kiloton fission device has been fully weaponised and operationally deployed on multiplate weapon platforms. It would be farcical to use a 3500-km range Agni-3 missile with a 25 kiloton fission warhead as the core of our CMD. Only a 150 – 350 kiloton if not megaton TN bomb can do so which we do not have.
Damaging Fallout: 'Dud' Pokhran II blows up 11 years later

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->MUMBAI: Eleven years after India tested nuclear bombs in the deserts of Pokhran, embarrassing details about the test fizzling out have exploded
into a full blown controversy with top nuclear scientists on Thursday demanding that the government institute an inquiry to determine whether the test failed. Former nuclear czars said they were ashamed that information had been hidden.

Three former nuclear leaders -- M R Srinivasan, P K Iyengar and A N Prasad -- said in the wake of revelations by K Santhanam, project leader for Pokhran II, the government must order a peer review into the yield of the thermonuclear test of May 1998.
<b>Santhanam favours probe into Pokhran-II</b>

Looks like, Congress had paid him good chunk to discredit NDA achievement.
<!--QuoteBegin-Mudy+Sep 18 2009, 04:43 AM-->QUOTE(Mudy @ Sep 18 2009, 04:43 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Santhanam favours probe into Pokhran-II</b>

Looks like, Congress had paid him good chunk to discredit NDA achievement.
Before that they have to continue the testing
<!--QuoteBegin-acharya+Sep 19 2009, 12:45 AM-->QUOTE(acharya @ Sep 19 2009, 12:45 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin--><!--QuoteBegin-Mudy+Sep 18 2009, 04:43 AM--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Mudy @ Sep 18 2009, 04:43 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Santhanam favours probe into Pokhran-II</b>

Looks like, Congress had paid him good chunk to discredit NDA achievement.
Before that they have to continue the testing
They have no intention to test. They will sign on all nonsense.
'<b>India needs to carry out more N-tests to get it right</b>'<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The government should set up an independent panel to review the data of India’s 1998 hydrogen bomb test to end the debate over its efficacy, says K Santhanam, ex-deputy director of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

India will need to “carry out two to three tests” to ensure its hydrogen bomb is working and “not rush to sign” the comprehensive test ban treaty, he says.

The panel should include retired “stalwarts in the field”, he suggests. The full report will have to be classified but “a sanitised version of one or two pages” could be made public.

Santhanam triggered the debate in August by saying the hydrogen bomb test’s explosive yield had been only 25 kilotonnes, and not the official 40-50 kilotonnes.

The debate has since split the nuclear establishment. It has been argued that the DRDO, and thus Santhanam, had no access to the test data. However, sources say because of the close relations between the scientists involved, Santhanam was known to have been “made aware of the primary data”.

Critics also say the sceptical assessment was based on partial information. DRDO handled only some of the instruments used to measure the explosion — ground motion and fibre-optic sensors and shockwave accelerometers.

The Department of Atomic Energy, which claims the test was a success, used radiochemical analysis. “My arguments are still solid, ” says Santhanam.

<b>There is no reason to be embarrassed about hydrogen bomb test failure, he says. “No country in the world succeeded in the first try.”</b>

<b>But he believes that India’s nuclear deterrent is not credible with warheads limited to 15 kilotonnes — the yield of a successful fusion bomb test.</b>

Brajesh Mishra, national security adviser during the tests, contests Santhanam’s claim that the issue of the yield was decided by a “voice vote” in a 1998 meeting. “There was no voice vote.” S K Sikka of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre did most of the explaining and he doubted, as Santhanam has claimed, there were any military officers present.

“There are people in the world who still believe the world is flat. What more can I say?”<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
The only people who think the S1 test was successful are ordinary Indians. Outsiders knew for a long time that the S1 was a failure. The second stage did not work. The radiochemical paper by Manohar et al is a joke.
Any paper that does not show the actual units in its figures (specially figure 4) has no credibility.

Santhanam is correct that additional tests are needed to iron out the kinks in the TN device. Unfortunately this is not the time to carry out those tests. For the moment we have to keep our options open by not signing the CTBT.
They need more test but current US administration who are busy neutering themselves will never allow India. But next question, do they really matter. My answer NO. But current Indian administration and some business houses who had different agenda, make money by tagging with Unkle.
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin--><b>Santhanam hits out at NSA; wants independent inquiry in N-test</b>
PTI | New Delhi
Former DRDO scientist K Santhanam on Monday demanded setting up of an independent expert panel to look into the data of Pokhran-II and hit out at National Security Adviser MK Narayanan for questioning his knowledge about the 1998 nuclear tests.

<b>Santhanam, who had raised doubts over the success of the thermonuclear test, said Narayanan had given "misleading" statement over 1998 explosions as he was not NSA at that time.</b>

Taking objection to Narayanan's claim that he did not have access to the data generated by the nuclear tests, Santhanam said "the NSA is barking up the wrong tree".

<b>He rejected Naryanan's contention that the review of the thermonuclear test by the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) should set at rest all doubts on the efficacy of the nuclear explosion</b>.

Santhanam, who was the DRDO co-ordinator for the 1998 nuclear tests, said there was a "strong and clear" need to form a group of stalwarts and give them access to all the relevant data.

"<b>Only then will the credibility (about the assessment of the tests) be increased... AEC and BARC cannot be judge and jury, more so when the issue relates to their claims of the thermonuclear yield,"</b> he said at an interaction at the Indian Women Press Corps here.

The former DRDO scientist claimed that at least two more tests would be required to perfect the thermonuclear device, known as the hydrogen bomb in popular parlance.

On repeated questions on why he had raised the issue 11 years after the Pokhran-II, Santhanam said he had already told the Government about the failure of the thermonuclear device in a 50-page classified report submitted in 1998.

He rejected Government claims that in 1998 scientists had collected enough data to conduct computer modelling and simulation of the thermonuclear tests.

<b>"We have to do more honest homework on thermonuclear design,"</b> he said.

<b>Santhanam and senior physicist Ashok Parthasarathi circulated photographs of the site of the thermonuclear test in the Pokhran range in Rajasthan in support of his claim that the hydrogen bomb explosion had left no crater</b>.

About 400 meters away, the fission test of 20 kilo tons had left a huge crater, he said indicating that the hydrogen bomb had failed to achieve the design yield.

Santhanam refused to divulge the exact depth at which the thermonuclear device was placed in the shaft saying the information was in the classified domain. He added that had the test been a success, it would have left a huge crater at the mouth of the shaft. <!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
<b>1998 thermonuclear test was a dud: Santhanam</b>
It was claimed by BARC that S2 was a 15 kt fission bomb which left behind a 40 meter diameter crater. Now Santhanam is claiming that S2 was a 25 kt fission bomb. Is the size of the crater consistent with a 25 kt bomb?
<b>‘Naked’ India needs ‘series of tests’ to deal with China: Santhanam</b>
There are 4 inconsistencies even after the revealations of Santhanam:

(1) Total Yield

GOI claimed that the total yield was 60 kt (S1=45 kt; S2=15 kt).
Santhanama claims the total yield to be about 50 kt (S1=60 % of 45 kt=27 kt; S2=25 kt);
Western seismologists claim the total yield to be 5-20 kt.

Even if we take the total yield to be 25 kt (larger than the largest number of western seismologists), even Santhanam's number is twice that number.

GOI claims that destructive interference due to two explosions separated by 1 km is the cause of the apparently low seismic yield. I am skeptical about this since it is difficult to believe that any substantial effect of such interference would be visible thousands of kms from Pokharan.

(2) Crater Size

GOI claimed that the 15 kt S2 yielded a crater of 40 m diameter. That value has been accepted as a reasonable figure by the international seismological community. Now according to Santhanam the figure is 25 kt for S2 yield. Won't that change the crater size? Also won't a S1=27 kt explosion at more than 200m below the surface (double the depth of S2) show larger effect than seen at the S1 site? Won't it at least damage the shaft?

(3) Tritium

It is being claimed that India is producing Tritium. Why should India need Tritium if all that it has are 25 kt fission weapons.

(4) Gen V P Malik

Gen Malik wanted the scientists to reassure the military about the yield of the thermonuclear device. Why should the military care about any TN device if all that it has is fission weapons?

Is there any scenario that explains all these inconsistencies?
I think there is a scenario that can explain all these inconsistencies. It seems to me that neither GOI nor Santhanum are telling the complete truth. I think the S2 weapon was simply a debugged Pokhran 1 fission weapon of yield 12 kt. It worked fine. The S1 TN device had a boosted primary of 15 Kt and the second stage of 30 Kt. What happened was that only the boosted fission primary of the S1 device worked as Santhanum is saying . Thus the true values of the total yield S1+S2 was 15+12=27 kt which would then bring the total yield in line with the international estimate. Also such an estimate would bring it in line with it being only a factor of 3 greater than the Pokhran 1 8 kt yield (as claimed by Iyengar).

One can understand why GOI did not tell the truth. Why is Santhanum obfuscating? I think he is not telling the true yield because of official secrets act. Moreover the current standardized Indian military fission weapon is a 25 kt weapon. So it does not matter what the exact yield of S2 was.

This scenario also explains why there was no shaft damage in S1. The 15 kt boosted primary of the S1 device was not capable of damaging the shaft when placed at twice the depth of the S2 device. It would have taken the second stage to create a crater and damage the shaft as Santhanum is saying.


Why is India producing Tritium and why did Gen Malik want reassurance from scientists about the true yield of the TN device since the TN device has not been weaponized according to Santhanum? Why does Santhanum want at least 2 more tests?

The answers to these questions are as follows.

When BARC first designed the TN device in 1995 they were flying blind. It was a theoretical model with no constraints. BARC did not know the accuracy of the model. For example, BARC had no idea if the fusion stage would work at all or how much radioactivity would show. There was no constraint on the model.

After the 1998 S1 test the situation changed. BARC had answers to their questions. P K Iyengar suggested there was a < 10 % fusion yield from the second stage of the S1 device. The BARC weaponeers were able to compare their model predictions with the actual classified radiochemical data obtained by probing the explosion site. They tweaked their model to match the observed radioactivity. They then used that TN device model as input to a seismic code originally developed for Pokhran 1 to match the observed seismic disturbance seen at S1. They then used that same seismic code to model the seismic disturbance of the Bainbury explosion as suggested by Kakodkar. Thus the 1998 S1 explosion was used to constrain the original BARC TN device model. The BARC seismic code was constrained by using 3 data points, Pokhran1, the S1 and the Bainbury seismic data points.

There is some confidence that the BARC seismic code works since it has been checked thrice using Pokhran 1, S1 and the American Bainbury tests. The BARK TN device simulation code has been checked only once using the S1 explosion. This is the reason why Santhanum is asking for 2 tests so that the BARC TN simulation code can also be constrained using a minimum of 3 data points. That would greatly enhance confidence in the BARC TN device simulation code.

It is true that Indian military will not accept any unproven weapon and has accepted only the fission weapons. However, BARC has tweaked the unweaponised TN device using their improved TN simulation
code. I have no doubt that in extreme emergency such a weapon will be used to deter say China if it is found that fission weapons are not able to deter that country. This is the reason for Tritium production and for General Malik's question.


There still remains the question about the usefulness of the Pokhran 2 explosions. Were they useful. I think yes. It has enabled the weaponisation of the fission weapon. It has also greatly enhanced BARC's understanding of how a TN device works. It would be wonderful if BARC can test twice because then they can really trust their TN device simulation code.

I don't know if I am right. At least this is what I think.
Bottom line: India does <b>not</b> have TN capability. What intrigues me more is the timing of this revelation, consequences, corrective actions (if any, although I highly doubt it if India will test again) and what may have prompted this action.
<!--QuoteBegin-k.ram+Sep 24 2009, 12:42 AM-->QUOTE(k.ram @ Sep 24 2009, 12:42 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Bottom line: India does <b>not</b> have TN capability. What intrigues me more is the timing of this revelation, consequences, corrective actions (if any, although I highly doubt it if India will test again) and what may have prompted this action.

Yes, the TN device has not been weaponized. The timing of the revelation seems to be dictated by the fear among some scientists that the Obama adminstration wants the CTBT to be signed by everyone. Just take a look at today's Times of India article:


The consequences of this revelation will be to make it very difficult for GOI to sign the CTBT. If GOI does sign the treaty then the maximum Indian weapon yields will remain in the 50 kt range. Testing will be needed to increase confidence level about bigger weapons. It is clear that some scientists are unhappy with such a limitation. This is why Santhanam is saying that India is facing 3 MT Chinese bombs.

Even if it is not possible to currently test an actual device it is still possible to study fusion by using laser to compress a fuel pellet.
<!--QuoteBegin-k.ram+Sep 23 2009, 07:12 AM-->QUOTE(k.ram @ Sep 23 2009, 07:12 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->Bottom line: India does <b>not</b> have TN capability. What intrigues me more is the timing of this revelation, consequences, corrective actions (if any, although I highly doubt it if India will test again) and what may have prompted this action.
It has put an wedge in the decision for CTBT

But it actually means that there is a small group which is trying to take decision for the entire country and the govt and other policy makers in the govt dont have any say in the CTBT and other matters
<b> Perils of minimal deterrence</b>

Bharat Karnad
First Published : 24 Sep 2009 11:19:00 PM IST

India is lucky that in the decade since the 1998 tests when the Indian government trumpeted the country as a ‘nuclear weapon state’ boasting of thermonuclear armaments in its inventory, no country called its bluff. In the context of deterrence as a high-powered game of poker, luck is a statistical incidence for a player with a weak suite. It will eventually run out.

The coordinator of the 1998 series of nuclear tests K Santhanam has authoritatively shown up the Indian government’s thermonuclear claims as pretension torpedoing, in the process, the longstanding fiction of India’s mastery over the science of fusion weapons purveyed by R Chidambaram, adviser to the prime minister on science and technology and, formerly, chairman, Atomic Energy Commission. <b>By referring, moreover, to the ‘hard data’ regarding the tests Santhanam says he has, the other shoe is yet to drop. Chidambaram & Co must be sweating bricks — the reason why they have been silent, even as the Manmohan Singh regime’s urge to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) and close the testing option altogether lies buried</b>. Instead of doing the right thing and having a committee of eminent physicists, including stalwarts from the retired nuclear community, examine the test data and the design details of the hydrogen device, <b>national security adviser M K Narayanan’s talk of a BARC group having already done this job and — surprise, surprise — pronounced the fusion test a success, has only stoked the disbelief freighted with anxiety.
Most significantly, Santhanam disclosed that none of the high yield thermonuclear weapon designs in the 100-kiloton to 300-kiloton range that Chidambaram had repeatedly assured the government and the military had been realised have, in fact, been weaponised. <b>This is a devastating denouement to a story that has the makings of a gigantic fraud perpetrated on the country, a fraud based on a scientific conceit of Chidambaram’s that Indian nuclear weaponeers are able to do what their counterparts in the more advanced countries cannot, namely, configure the complex hydrogen bomb based solely on simulation, not sustained and rigorous explosive testing.</b> It is another matter that India’s supposed simulation prowess is suspect considering that <b>simulation requires extensive test data to write the software and computing speeds in thousands of trillions of operations per second to replicate the variables of a fusion reaction — neither of which the country possesses. </b>Moreover, absent tests, facilities for large scale inertial confinement fusion and for dual axis radiographic hydro testing to enhance the yield by, say, improving the system for injecting tritium gas in the boosted fission trigger in an H-bomb, are unavailable in the country.

But, what is so special about thermonuclear weaponry? For one thing, the hydrogen bomb can inspire dread and is truly ‘frightening’ — the essence of deterrence as mind game and something Herman Kahn, the pioneering theorist of deterrence, said was the prime requisite. And, most importantly, the H-bomb is four times more destructive than a fission weapon and costs only a third as much. With limited resources and fissile material stockpile, India will be strategically better off with a mainly thermonuclear arsenal, each warhead providing enormously bigger bang for the buck.

Supporters of the government’s ‘no more testing’ line, incidentally, are also, without exception, adherents of ‘minimal’ deterrence. Acknowledging that India’s thermonuclear cupboard is virtually bare, these worthies now argue that: (1) weapons capable of 150-300 KT, leave alone megaton, yields are not needed because 60-80 KT fission weapons are adequate; (2) instead of one thermonuclear missile on target, India can fire three missiles, each with a 15-25 KT warhead and, in a supportive hypothesis, (3) delivery accuracy is more important than weapon yield.

An Indian arsenal featuring only 20 KT weapons will do for Pakistan but is guaranteed to fail against China.</b> <b>Besides, India does not have 60-80 KT fission weapons. If these are to be acquired, it will mean scaling up the only proven weapon in the armoury — the 20 KT variety. But scaled up fission bombs/warheads will still need to be tested. If testing is deemed politically infeasible for fission weapons as for fusion weapons, then a big question mark will continue to hang around the Indian deterrent.

The fundamental problem with triggering a salvo of missiles with small yield warheads in the place of thermonuclear missiles is that it is inherently illogical to make the effort of investing in and obtaining 5,000 km Agni intermediate range ballistic missiles (IRBMs) and, in the future, an 12,000 km intercontinental range ballistic missiles or even long range cruise missiles, and then arm these with puny warheads. It skews the cost-benefit calculus. The minimalists think otherwise given their simplistic take on deterrence, which is high risk-acceptant. Costs may be irrelevant once a nuclear war breaks out, but isn’t the purpose of a nuclear deterrent to prevent nuclear war credibly but also as economically as possible? Secondly, there will be that many more fission weapon-armed missiles to secure and keep safe on the ground. Thirdly, against well-defended value targets, such as Beijing, several missiles will need to be fired to penetrate missile defences and to overcome attrition in flight and inaccurate terminal guidance.

<b>Finally, just the threat of incoming Chinese Dongfeng-21 IRBMs carrying warheads in the 1-3.3 megaton range would so psychologically cripple Indian political leaders with only 20 KT firecrackers to bank on, they will likely throw in the towel.</b>

The Armed Services have been shaken up by Santhanam’s outing the weapons programme as fraudulent and the thermonuclear deterrent as hollow. It will be reasonable for them to demand that nuclear weapons principally meet rigorous military performance standards and not, as happens at present, perform mostly on paper or on computer screens — the sort of thing that apparently satisfies the scientists who are not in the firing loop, retired bureaucrats and policemen (as NSA and what not) who offer strategic counsel such as is on display but are safely out of harm’s way, and political leaders making crucial nuclear weapons-use decisions. <b>The pity is that while the military is starting to get a grip on the situation, the retired civil servant-types and politicians, who understand little about nuclear weapons and even less about deterrence dynamics, are predisposed to make the wrong strategic choices because they accept the misleading, short term-oriented, West-pleasing, advice offered by promoters of minimal deterrence.
<i>About the author:

Bharat Karnad is professor at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, and author of India’s Nuclear Policy</i>
BK says quite firmly that, "India does not have 60-80 KT fission weapons". He also says that it would require testing to scale these up from the proven 20 kt fission weapon.

I am puzzled by the second statement. Surely BARC understands fission weapon design quite well by now.
<!--QuoteBegin-acharya+Sep 24 2009, 02:40 AM-->QUOTE(acharya @ Sep 24 2009, 02:40 AM)<!--QuoteEBegin-->
It has put an wedge in the decision for CTBT

But it actually means that there is a small group which is trying to take decision for the entire country and the govt and other policy makers in the govt dont have any say in the CTBT and other matters
That group is Ambanis and IT CEOs.

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