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Is Thermonuclear India a Fizzle?
GlobalPost ^ | 09/29/2009 | Jason Overdorf

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 ...


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: india; nuclearbomb; nuclearweapons; southasia; thermonuclear; thermonuclearbomb

1 posted on 10/02/2009 9:26:42 PM PDT by ErnstStavroBlofeld
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To: sonofstrangelove

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.


2 posted on 10/02/2009 9:28:42 PM PDT by cranked
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To: sonofstrangelove

If true, this has ENORMOUS implications in regards to another regional adversary, Pakistan, as well.


3 posted on 10/02/2009 9:29:47 PM PDT by lmr (God punishes Conservatives by making them argue with fools.)
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To: lmr

I agree.


4 posted on 10/02/2009 9:30:45 PM PDT by ErnstStavroBlofeld ("We will either find a way, or make one."Hannibal/Carthaginian Military Commander)
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To: cranked

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?


5 posted on 10/02/2009 9:31:19 PM PDT by lmr (God punishes Conservatives by making them argue with fools.)
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To: sonofstrangelove
India's 1998 demonstration of thermonuclear capability -- fission-based bombs with a force of 100 kilotons or more...

Doesn't 'thermonuclear' refer to fusion?
6 posted on 10/02/2009 9:32:34 PM PDT by posterchild (Endowed by my Creator with certain unalienable rights.)
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To: posterchild

You are correct.It is a fusion of the atomic nucleus at very high teperatures.


7 posted on 10/02/2009 9:34:36 PM PDT by ErnstStavroBlofeld ("We will either find a way, or make one."Hannibal/Carthaginian Military Commander)
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To: lmr

obama is a very Dangerous Joke.....


8 posted on 10/02/2009 9:44:18 PM PDT by unkus
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To: sonofstrangelove

Why would Santhanam think it necessary to make such a statement?


9 posted on 10/02/2009 9:46:56 PM PDT by EDINVA (Obama CAN'T see the Olympics from his back porch !)
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To: AdmSmith; Berosus; bigheadfred; Convert from ECUSA; dervish; Ernest_at_the_Beach; Fred Nerks; ...
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.

10 posted on 10/02/2009 9:50:42 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/__Since Jan 3, 2004__Profile updated Monday, January 12, 2009)
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To: SunkenCiv
I fail to see how that makes them naked w.r.t. China: even one average fission nuke, (say 20 kt), detonated over the heart of a Chinese city, would f*ck up their whole day.

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.)

Cheers!

11 posted on 10/02/2009 10:00:51 PM PDT by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: posterchild
The article is technically correct while being scientifically misleading (as almost always happens in the political press.)

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.)

12 posted on 10/02/2009 10:01:14 PM PDT by FredZarguna (It looks just like a Telefunken U-47. In leather.)
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To: grey_whiskers
I fail to see how that makes them naked w.r.t. China

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.

13 posted on 10/02/2009 10:05:48 PM PDT by FredZarguna (It looks just like a Telefunken U-47. In leather.)
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To: grey_whiskers

Well put.

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.


14 posted on 10/02/2009 10:11:53 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/__Since Jan 3, 2004__Profile updated Monday, January 12, 2009)
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To: EDINVA

Maybe he has a personal gripe against the Indian government he has not mentioned.


15 posted on 10/02/2009 10:15:49 PM PDT by ErnstStavroBlofeld ("We will either find a way, or make one."Hannibal/Carthaginian Military Commander)
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To: FredZarguna
Freepmail coming.

Cheers!

16 posted on 10/02/2009 10:19:22 PM PDT by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: FredZarguna
A cheap way to put the plutonium into deterrence -- and one I shudder to think of -- is to disperse the plutonium into *conventional* explosives to be detonated at/near population centres.

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...

17 posted on 10/02/2009 10:28:49 PM PDT by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: FredZarguna
Fusion Bomb
Numbered parts: 1.bomb casing
2.interior filling (plastic material)
3.detonators
4.conventional high explosive
5.usher (aluminum, others) and reflector (beryllium, tungsten) 7.Fissile core (plutonium or uranium-235)
8.Radiation shield (tungsten, others)
9.fusion pusher/tamper (uranium-235 sleeve)
10.fusion fuel (solid lithium-deuteride) 11.Sparkplug (uranium-235 or plutonium)

18 posted on 10/02/2009 10:38:09 PM PDT by ErnstStavroBlofeld ("We will either find a way, or make one."Hannibal/Carthaginian Military Commander)
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To: grey_whiskers
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.

19 posted on 10/02/2009 10:42:21 PM PDT by FreedomCalls (It's called the "Statue of Liberty" and not the "Statue of Security.")
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To: FreedomCalls
It'd make one fine "alternative history" novel, wouldn't it?

Cheers!

20 posted on 10/02/2009 10:45:41 PM PDT by grey_whiskers (The opinions are solely those of the author and are subject to change without notice.)
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To: FredZarguna
One US test was a "dud". A few Russian efforts are believed to have been in some early cases publicity stunts that probably failed

I think Britain faked one of their tests also.

21 posted on 10/02/2009 10:50:18 PM PDT by SeeSharp
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To: SeeSharp
I think Britain faked one of their tests also

Wouldn't surprise me. It was a prestige club, and people forget how hot the Cold War was at some points in the late forties/early fifties -- a lot of history ignoramuses think the Cuban Missile Crisis was the only "near thing."

The NoKoreans had a very low yield in the one test we actually have confirmed and that wasn't even an H-Bomb. Some analysts thought it might actually be a conventional high explosive test it was so feeble. I believe that probably means it was Plutonium.

22 posted on 10/02/2009 11:18:38 PM PDT by FredZarguna (It looks just like a Telefunken U-47. In leather.)
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To: SunkenCiv

Also take into account the fighting spirit and capability of India’s Sikhs, who are a minority in India’s armed services (army, navy, air force).


23 posted on 10/03/2009 2:50:37 AM PDT by myknowledge (F-22 Raptor: World's Largest Distributor of Sukhoi parts!)
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To: FreedomCalls

And there’d be no Cold War as we know it.


24 posted on 10/03/2009 2:51:35 AM PDT by myknowledge (F-22 Raptor: World's Largest Distributor of Sukhoi parts!)
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To: FredZarguna
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.

What you're describing sounds like flint lock rifle technology applied to nuclear weapons - click, clack, fiss, boom.

25 posted on 10/03/2009 5:14:25 AM PDT by Hardastarboard (Maureen Dowd is right. I DON'T like our President's color. He's a Red.)
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To: grey_whiskers
we could have forestalled a LOT of the world's current problems by nuking Stalin in 1946...

Amen to that, brother, and several million Russians would still be alive. Patton was right - we should have taken Russia while we were there and had the Germans to fight with us, although I totally understand why nobody wanted to keep fighting. Even with a fire brand like Patton, invading Russia would have been an extremely risky proposition, but I'm sure he had already thought of that, given his knowledge of military history.

26 posted on 10/03/2009 5:17:14 AM PDT by Hardastarboard (Maureen Dowd is right. I DON'T like our President's color. He's a Red.)
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To: posterchild

Yes. Their mistake may have been using just one fission trigger, instead of multiple.


27 posted on 10/03/2009 5:19:32 AM PDT by 2harddrive
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To: FredZarguna

The North Korean test in 2006 was a fusion dud, too, I believe.


28 posted on 10/03/2009 5:27:27 AM PDT by 2harddrive
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To: sonofstrangelove

I don’t think your diagram is accurate. That device would FIZZLE.


29 posted on 10/03/2009 5:32:26 AM PDT by 2harddrive
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To: Hardastarboard
had the Germans to fight with us,

After uncovering the camps, no one wanted anything to do with the Germans...

30 posted on 10/03/2009 6:35:20 AM PDT by glorgau
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To: FredZarguna

Check up on your history, China has attacked India in the past.


31 posted on 10/03/2009 6:49:03 AM PDT by Freeport (The proper application of high explosives will remove all obstacles.)
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To: myknowledge

That might be more than offset by the Muzzie uprising within India.


32 posted on 10/03/2009 7:21:58 AM PDT by SunkenCiv (https://secure.freerepublic.com/donate/__Since Jan 3, 2004__Profile updated Monday, January 12, 2009)
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To: sonofstrangelove

India should stop buying Russian weapons NOW and buy our stuff. In the end, Russia will stab India in the back if there is global conflict against the US by Russia and China.

Plus, we need the ally in the region. India has the potential of being very powerful with their help. And yes, we should help them with their nuclear weapons program.


33 posted on 10/03/2009 7:44:26 AM PDT by Thunder90 (Fighting for truth and the American way... http://citizensfortruthandtheamericanway.blogspot.com/)
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To: sonofstrangelove

I read a recent report of some border troubles in the area where the 1962 war was fought between China and India.


34 posted on 10/03/2009 7:55:49 AM PDT by junta (S.C.U.M. = State Controlled Unreliable Media)
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To: FreedomCalls
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.

You can also make a case for forestalling a lot of the worlds past and present problems if the Germans had won the first world war.

35 posted on 10/03/2009 8:09:37 AM PDT by MilspecRob (Most people don't act stupid, they really are.)
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To: sonofstrangelove

Or he’s got a side biz working with a foreign gov to destabilize India.

I don’t see it being true, had it been a fizzle 11 years ago, India would have worked to make it happen.


36 posted on 10/03/2009 8:13:28 AM PDT by Rebelbase (This is the time of year when ACORNS fall.)
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To: Freeport
Check up on your history, China has attacked India in the past.

So? Check up on my post. I don't say anything about that.

37 posted on 10/03/2009 11:09:54 AM PDT by FredZarguna (It looks just like a Telefunken U-47. In leather.)
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To: posterchild

A thermonuke is none other than a hydrogen bomb

a bomb whose violent explosive power is due to the sudden release of atomic energy resulting from the fusion of light nuclei (as of hydrogen atoms) at very high temperature and pressure to form helium nuclei (webster)


38 posted on 10/03/2009 11:29:31 AM PDT by omega4179 (pos approval rating -11)
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To: sonofstrangelove

BZZZTT! Thermonuclear bombs are fusion bombs — H bombs — not fission bombs — A bombs.


39 posted on 10/03/2009 12:22:04 PM PDT by pabianice
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To: SeeSharp

I think I read a book about this once. The Jesus Factor?

parsy, whose memory is going downhill


40 posted on 10/03/2009 9:30:44 PM PDT by parsifal (Abatis: Rubbish in front of a fort, to prevent the rubbish outside from molesting the rubbish inside)
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To: sukhoi-30mki

Hmmm PING.


41 posted on 10/05/2009 4:40:18 AM PDT by spetznaz (Nuclear-tipped Ballistic Missiles: The Ultimate Phallic Symbol)
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To: Thunder90
The article is precisely the reason why India MUST NOT buy weaponry from the US, especially under Obama administration. If India is actually planning on carrying out more nuclear tests, imagine what that's going to do to India's defense supplies coming from US.
42 posted on 10/05/2009 7:43:17 AM PDT by Rookie Cookie
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