Skip to comments.Is Thermonuclear India a Fizzle?
Posted on 10/02/2009 9:26:42 PM PDT by ErnstStavroBlofeld
Days before President Barack Obama told the United Nations that he hoped to push through a universal treaty to ban all nuclear weapons testing by the end of 2010, a top Indian scientist threw New Delhi's security establishment for an atomic loop.
Kasturiranga Santhanam, the coordinator of India's 1998 nuclear tests, went public with allegations that India's much heralded Pokhran II test of a thermonuclear bomb 11 years ago was actually a fizzle.
"We are totally naked vis-a-vis China, which has an inventory of 200 nuclear bombs, the vast majority of which are giant H-bombs of power equal to three million tons of TNT," Santhanam told reporters in New Delhi this week.
Naturally, the bizarre exercise in reverse brinkmanship ("About that bomb we told you we have...") did not go down well. India's 1998 demonstration of thermonuclear capability -- fission-based bombs with a force of 100 kilotons or more -- was the cause of great celebration in a country still fighting for a voice in global affairs and sandwiched between a belligerent, hereditary enemy in Pakistan and a frightening potential future adversary in China.
By calling its success into question, scientist K. Santhanam, who was director of test site preparations for Pokhran II, shook the country's confidence in its nuclear deterrent at a moment when the long, frustrating peace process with Pakistan seems as futile as ever.
(Excerpt) Read more at sitrep.globalsecurity.org ...
It’s going to take more than Barry spewing about non-proliferation, being nuke free, etc. to get states that have nukes to disarm. Bet.
If true, this has ENORMOUS implications in regards to another regional adversary, Pakistan, as well.
Exactly. If the King Of The World has no sway over the International Olympic Committee, a benign entity, how does he think he can play a game of reverse brinkmanship on Nukes and win?
You are correct.It is a fusion of the atomic nucleus at very high teperatures.
obama is a very Dangerous Joke.....
Why would Santhanam think it necessary to make such a statement?
Kasturiranga Santhanam, the coordinator of India's 1998 nuclear tests, went public with allegations that India's much heralded Pokhran II test of a thermonuclear bomb 11 years ago was actually a fizzle. "We are totally naked vis-a-vis China, which has an inventory of 200 nuclear bombs, the vast majority of which are giant H-bombs of power equal to three million tons of TNT," Santhanam told reporters in New Delhi this week.
Take out the Three Gorges Dam and a couple of other key installations, and China is back at scratching dirt for a living.
(India? Most of their population is at subsistence anyway, and wouldn't particularly notice, until the sacred cows started growing two heads from the fallout.)
A thermonuclear weapon is an H-Bomb. This is a bomb "based" on a fission because the first reaction in a thermonuclear weapon is a fission reaction. The fission reaches sufficiently high temperature under containment to attain neutronic fusion of hydrogen isotopes (as opposed to the aneutronic fusion, which [luckily] occurs in the sun.) The energy released in the secondary fusion is used to irradiate a third stage of depleted uranium or some other non-fissile material which then becomes fissionable, goes critical, and detonates. The third stage absorbs enough energy from the fusion to allow a highly efficient fission. It is believed only around 1/3 of the energy actually comes from the fusion proper -- but none of the high yield would be possible without fusion.
Exact details are, of course, highly classified. But roughly, if you leave off the tertiary fission-fusion-fission to just get a fission-fusion device, the fast neutrons escape and you have a neutron bomb.
Interestingly, the design of a thermonuclear weapons involves very high technology and sophisticated physics and engineering design. By contrast, a nuclear weapon is in a sense a trivial exercise in physics but a very sophisticated effort in metallurgy, refining, and materials handling: once you've got enough uranium or plutonium, things take care of themselves. This is a huge oversimplification -- especially in terms of weapons efficiency -- but gives you some idea why this man's claims may be true: that India has nuclear weapons but has never really detonated an H-Bomb. H-Bomb design requires a LOT of testing. One US test was a "dud". A few Russian efforts are believed to have been in some early cases publicity stunts that probably failed (or partially failed.)
Yeah, me too. I wonder if this is more of a political statement than a truthful one. India is outside of the NPT, and maybe he's trying to claim "we aren't so bad." -- OR -- Maybe he's arguing that the plutonium from the fast-breeders they're buying from the US ought to be put into more Chinese deterrence instead of reactor fuel.
Making H-Bombs is difficult, but they've had a long time and a number of tests since then. And they're certainly technologically capable of anything the Chinese are.
I think that the Chinese army is far larger than that of India, despite the populations being about even. The Chinese would probably find a ready ally in Pakistan, but then again, China has a growing problem with restive populations in its western and northwestern reaches, and can’t afford a war with India. India’s armed forces are probably better than those of China, but China has a numerical advantage. That served them well in the early months of the “volunteer” Chinese invasion during the Korean War, but ultimately their losses were massive and defeat was near-total.
Maybe he has a personal gripe against the Indian government he has not mentioned.
See also Tom Clancy's The Sum of All Fears about the fate of the guard at the terrorist bomb fabrication site.
I don't know -- nor do I want to -- what would need to be done to ensure the safety of the workers and environs of a factory making such radiological-based (not detonation/thermal pulse based) WMD's.
NO cheers, unfortunately.
Nukes suck, but we could have forestalled a LOT of the world's current problems by nuking Stalin in 1946...
And creating a whole different set of 'em.
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