Casting doubt on Indian nuclear weapon designs and yields -2

negi
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Postby negi » 31 May 2008 11:33

kudos to Lakshmic... for explaining the intricacies of N-bomb . It was enlightening to know about the difference between the gun type device for a U powered bomb vis a vis a complex lens assembly for the Pu device.

The part explaining the un symterical structure of lens was impressive, I mean now I realize as to why an accidental detonation of such a device is impossible.

Fwiw sir and guru log we need to resurrect BRM and have such nuggets archived.

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Postby Raja Ram » 31 May 2008 12:09

lakshmic sir,

You have done a yoeman service with the posts. Even a confirmed "lowest common denominator" like yours truly can understand. thank you very much sir.

Request the powers that be to please seek a full article by lakshmic, arun_s, shiv, amber G, vsunder along the style adopted by lakshmic. You can publish it or circulate it to interested BR members.

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Postby KSKumar » 31 May 2008 13:34

Arun_S wrote:
ramana wrote:So its that CNC stuff that SUnil used to talk about after all!

And Alok_N used to rip that CNC argument. How ironic that their minds and thoughts are now fused into one, lording con-fusion in fools paradise.


SunilS's CNC machine talk was with regard to mass manufacture of components for a massive nuclear POWER program and hence why access to technology (reprocessing equipment and everything else) was critical as part of the Nuclear Deal. I am typing here from memory. I do not have access to an archive of those fascinating discussions.

How that is related to a limited number of CNC machines that may be required for bum making is beyond me.

Even for a layman like me, this unholy glee with which Arun latches on to, what is essentially, a red herring is totally mystyfying. What gives?

Why are things being twisted so diabolically and false conclusions being arived at?

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Postby abhischekcc » 31 May 2008 13:43

lakshmic, vsunder - great posts.

----------

There is one question I have.

Earlier, Arun_s was 'debating' another member, and the issue of shaped shock-wave formed by S1 came up - and how this leads to S2. This was interesting for me because until that time I thought that fusion takes place by the temperature generated by S1.

Now, I understand conventional shaped charges, and how it is important in fission bombs.

What I don't understand is how does the shape of the fission generated shockwave important in triggering/generating/maintaining fusion - as compared to temperature alone.

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Postby JE Menon » 31 May 2008 17:14

Further to Ramana's request, I would like again to request people posting on this thread to abstain from personal comments against participants here or elsewhere with a BRF history. It adds nothing to this thread, and certainly takes away from the credibility of BRF - which was done no favours by the way in which previous threads deteriorated over similar comments.

Shiv has started what has so far been an excellent thread, and it must stay that way, even if it means deleting posts without explanation or justification.

Lakshmic - thank you for a series of wonderful posts.

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Postby satyarthi » 31 May 2008 17:46

abhischekcc wrote:What I don't understand is how does the shape of the fission generated shockwave important in triggering/generating/maintaining fusion - as compared to temperature alone.

Since for a higher yield the secondary needs to be rather large in size and must be physically apart from the primary. The goal is then to use the power of the primary to create fusion in the secondary.

But this power from primary CANNOT be shocks or heat etc. Since they will be extremely difficult to focus/shape. Most probably the shocks and heat will reach one part of the secondary before they reache other parts. Since the force in the shocks (or temperatures) involved are humongous, any differential application on the secondary will rip it apart and destroy it without causing any fusion.

It was found that the fissioning primary also causes the generation of an unusually large number of X-rays through bremsstrahlung caused by fissioning material pieces accelerating and then decelerating due to collisions. These x-rays travel at the speed of light. And it is the effect of these x-rays that is used to create fusion in the secondary.

The key idea is that the:

(i) x-rays from the primary reach the secondary before shocks or heat reach any part of it.

(ii) x-rays can compress the secondary much more strongly than any chemical explosive can.

(iii) x-rays cause a very uniform compression of the secondary from all sides, for various kinds of shapes of the secondary.

(iv) x-ray effects are believed to be of three kinds:

1. x-ray radiation pressure.

2. x-rays convert the foam surrounding the secondary casing into high temp plasma. This plasma then helps in compressing the secondary.

3. x-rays are absorbed by a thin layer of the secondary casing and that thin layer gets instantly heated to very high temperatures, causing it to ablate out at high speed. This ablation creates a reactive force and compresses the secondary.

(v) x-rays do their job of compressing the secondary BEFORE any shocks/heat etc from primary even reach the secondary. If x-rays were not there, shocks and heat from the primary would destroy the secondary without causing any fusion.

So, lets remember that the real importance of a staged Teller-Ulam design lies in recognizing the great role assigned to the x-rays generated by the primary, while simultaneously minimizing the effects of shocks/heat from the primary which are much more difficult to focus/shape etc in a staged design.

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Postby p_saggu » 31 May 2008 20:26

I have a few queries.

1. What if the casing itself is U-238. Or a U-238 tamper is used with the casing? Does it add to the X-rays generated in any way? Is it not a source of more neutrons when it starts to burn.
Instead of an inert/non radioactive casing, if a tamper were used say in S1 would it have added to the casing strength / Helped in the overall reaction in any way? From Lakshmi C's wonderful posts it is clear that casing strength is not much of an issue, its reflective power/ enhancing of X-rays is.

2. How does a Boosted Fission weapon work with LiD in the center? Is it the pure compressive force of the shockwave or again neutrons and X-rays.
Why call it "Fusion"-boosted fission?


JMT

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Postby Arun_S » 31 May 2008 21:07

JE Menon wrote:Further to Ramana's request, I would like again to request people posting on this thread to abstain from personal comments against participants here or elsewhere with a BRF history. It adds nothing to this thread, and certainly takes away from the credibility of BRF - which was done no favours by the way in which previous threads deteriorated over similar comments.

Shiv has started what has so far been an excellent thread, and it must stay that way, even if it means deleting posts without explanation or justification.

JE Menon: My bad. I take back those words.

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Postby Gerard » 31 May 2008 21:11

p_saggu wrote:2. How does a Boosted Fission weapon work with LiD in the center? Is it the pure compressive force of the shockwave or again neutrons and X-rays.
Why call it "Fusion"-boosted fission?


The tritium boost gas is stored outside of the hollow pit and injected before detonation. The fusion fuel in the center of the pit ignites before the fission chain reaction terminates. It produces a pulse of neutrons that interact with the now diverging fissile material of the pit and produces most of the yield.

See page 23 of this article

ITER: The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor and the nuclear weapons proliferation implications of thermonuclear-fusion energy systems.
http://arxiv.org/pdf/physics/0401110.pdf

This wikipedia section explains one point safety. US weapons must be one point safe (fission yield less than 4 pounds of equivalent high explosive) in the absence of mechanical safing.

Weapons like the W87 are mechanically safed as well. They use a MSAD (Mechanical Safing and Arming Device) that holds a sensitive detonator (pellet of HE in an aluminium can about the size of an aspirin tablet) out of alignment with the main insensitive HE charge of the air lens. It is brought into alignment only when the correct signals are received.

One-point safety

Modern nuclear weapons use a boosted two-point hollow-pit design. By reducing the number of lenses to just two, they achieve a much smaller diameter for the primary
Last edited by Gerard on 31 May 2008 21:24, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby satyarthi » 31 May 2008 21:13

As posted by lakshmi_c the x-ray compression of the secondary fizzles if instabilities arise.

One way for TN to fizzle then is if shocks from the primary introduce perturbations leading to instabilities before x-rays have done their job. So in a way shaping/conrolling shocks from the primary is important so that they don't perturb the secondary before x-rays finish doing their job.

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Postby Anujan » 31 May 2008 21:23

p_saggu wrote:2. How does a Boosted Fission weapon work with LiD in the center? Is it the pure compressive force of the shockwave or again neutrons and X-rays.Why call it "Fusion"-boosted fission?
JMT


p_saggu-saar,

Most stochastic phenomena exhibit "threshold property". What I mean is this. Suppose you have a cold. Suppose there is a 20% chance of you infecting someone else with the cold and suppose you meet 10 people a day. Then it might happen that the infection fizzles out. Meaning a total of 20 people might catch a cold and thats it and then everyone gets cured.

But if we increase the chance of passing on the cold to 21% of the people you meet, or if you meet 11 people a day, the whole of India would catch a cold. This is the "threshold property"*. There is a threshold on the probability of infection (20%) and a threshold on the number of people you meet (10), which if you cross, everyone catches a cold.

Same thing with plutonium. Every neutron has some probability that it will hit a plutonium nucleus (or might simply pass through) and once it hits, there is a probability that (based on its energy) it might cause a fission. So the first idea is to increase density of the plutonium ball so a neutron has more chance to hit a nucleus. So this complicated explosive shell arrangement to squeeze the plutonium, bring the pieces together and increase density. Now ideally speaking, the chance that a neutron hits a nucleus goes above the threshold (because of increased density) so all the plutonium (100% of it, 100% efficiency) should undergo fission. In normal fission, 2-3 neutrons are released per fission, which cause fission in 2-3 more nuclei, which causes fission in 2-3 more nuclei and so on.

But what happens in practice is that once fission starts, the pieces heat up, expand and go back to their original positions and fission stops. So in an ordinary fission bum, the total energy released is only the amount of plutonium that undergoes fission between just firing the explosives and re-expansion back to the original dimension. I am talking about it in a leisurely pace, but this happens in an order of micro to milliseconds :P. So to increase efficiency, we can pack more explosives so we reach more density. In practice this doesnt work at all. Because fission produces so much energy, it delays the expansion only very very slightly and we are stuck with the same efficiency as before. So there is a limit on the yield you can reach (hard limit) with pure fission. So increasing density (increasing the people you meet) is ruled out beyond a point. How about putting in more plutonium ? Well that has the same problem too. After some time, the pieces expand and fission stops, and this time cannot be delayed no matter how much plutonium you put in or how much explosives you pack. So fission bum is not "scalable" this way, either by putting in more plutonium or by putting in more explosives. There is a limit on the yield.

How about increasing the number of neutrons (probability you will infect more percentage of people you meet) ? If we make a hole in the center and fill it with tritium and deuterium, after 1% of the fission has taken place, the temperature rises enough for the tritium and deutrium to fuse and release neutrons. These neutrons are highly energetic and when they strike a plutonium nucleus, they fission and release 4-5 neutrons (instead of 2-3 for normal fission). So if you take one atom tritium, fuse it with one atom deutrium, it releases one neutron, which when it strikes a plutonium nucleus, it releases 5 neutrons, which can fission 5 plutonium atoms more. So within 2 generations, one atom tritium and one atom deutrium can fission 25 atoms plutonium. In normal fission, this would be 4-9 atoms fission within 2 generations. Assuming you have only time for 2 generations of fission before expansion, we have fissioned 25 nuclei instead of 9, a 3 times increase in efficiency. This is the "boost" in efficiency.

Typically in FBF weapons, only 1% of energy is because of fusion. The increase in the power of the bum is because of the massive increase in efficiency of fission. Ofcourse, there are other tricks to boost efficiency also like surrounding the plutonium pit with a shell of uranium (neutron reflector, doesnt allow the neutrons to escape), having more precisely packed explosives (so compression and density is uniform throughout, instead of some places with high density and some places with low density) and so on.

*Most Threshold property has to do with convergence of infinite series. Meaning 1+ 1/2 + 1/4 + 1/8 added up to infinite terms is still slightly less than 2. But 1 + 1/2 + 1/3 + ... more terms you add, bigger number you get. The former is a dud, the latter is a bum.
Last edited by Anujan on 31 May 2008 22:05, edited 2 times in total.

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Postby Gerard » 31 May 2008 21:39

http://www.armscontrol.org/act/1997_11-12/garwin.asp

During the 1958-1961 moratorium, an upper limit of 2 kilograms of high-explosive equivalent was established for the permissible fission yield of a hydronuclear experiment. This was related to one of the criteria that the United States formally set for the safety of its nuclear weapons: Given a detonation initiated at the worst single point in the high-explosive system, the likelihood of a fission-energy release exceeding 2 kilograms of high explosive must be less than one in a million. This relates to the accident scenarios for nuclear weapons involve the detonation of the high explosive at one point—by a rifle bullet or a fragment from an explosion.

To determine which U.S. designs were one-point safe, and to take corrective measures for those that were not, was the primary purpose of the hydronuclear experiments, which ultimately involved the actual firing of a primary by one-point detonation at the point determined by theory or experiment to be that giving greatest criticality. Because such one-point detonation could, in principle, give a considerable yield in the range of tons or hundreds of tons of high explosive, a series of experiments was conducted with gradually increasing amounts of fissile material (or of high explosive). A design found not to be inherently one-point safe might be rendered one-point safe, in a reversible fashion, by inserting in the hollow of the fissile pit some material that could be extracted when the weapon was activated. Its presence would prevent the imploding plutonium shell from reaching a small enough radius to become critical. Once a design has been demonstrated to be one-point safe, such experiments never have to be repeated on that weapon design. Consequently, banning hydronuclear tests is compatible with the U.S. commitment to retain the safety of the existing nuclear weapon stockpile, the safety of which has been demonstrated.

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Postby Multatuli » 31 May 2008 22:00

And now that some people are in a mood to explain things, could someone explain what decoupling of an N-explosion means ( in somewhat more detail then the basic stuff ) ?

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Postby Anujan » 31 May 2008 22:26

Multatuli wrote:And now that some people are in a mood to explain things, could someone explain what decoupling of an N-explosion means ( in somewhat more detail then the basic stuff ) ?
.

Multatuli-saar,
Let us assume we set off a bum at Pokharan. Let us assume unkil is listening using sensitive seismographs in pakiland. Based on the strength of the signals he is seeing, he can calculate the size of the bum. This is like you shout something, I am listening 100 meters away and want to know how loudly you shouted to begin with.

But he needs to know two things.

1. The attenuation of seismic waves. How much do they die out per km traveled. For example, if you jump up and down on one side of the bed, the other side does not shake as much. Now if you jump up and down on one side of a table, the other side vibrates much. So, I need to know how much loudness decreases per meter (attenuation) traveled. So based on the loudness and based on the distance, I can calculate how loud you were. Seismic conductivity is well studied based on rock characteristics, earthquake studies and measurements using different stations and so on and so forth. So we can safely assume that Unkil knows the seismic conductivity has various maps and so on.

2. The coupling of the explosion. For example, if I lock you inside a room and stand 100 meters away, just knowing how much sound attenuates per meter is not enough. I need to know how much sound escaped the room in the first place, The room walls absorb sound, reflect it back so on and so forth. Or how much your voice "couples" with the walls of the room. In normal cavities made in rock, there is lithostatic stress. Or because the hole is so deep down below, and because of the weight of the rock on top of it, the walls of the hole are pretty stressed and stiff. So they have a resistance for lateral shear. Meaning, if you punch them, they dont vibrate much. So setting a bum off in a hole doesnt couple much, they dont vibrate the walls. Instead the energy just gets reflected back and forth and melts the walls. Knowing coupling is harder, we have to know the size of the shaft, the shape of the shaft, the depth, the rock composition where the shaft was dug and so on and so forth. Which only the SDREs know as of now.

Russies made several coupling studies. They used to set off bums inside salt formations. So the energy of the bum would melt the salt and would get dampened instead of the energy producing seismic waves and getting transmitted through the walls for unkil to listen. Unkil, till today, is phooh-phoohing those studies and claiming that more than a 10KT bum cannot be completely decoupled this way and can be detected upto 2500Km away.
Last edited by Anujan on 31 May 2008 22:44, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby sraj » 31 May 2008 22:44

Knowing coupling is harder, we have to know the size of the shaft, the shape of the shaft, the depth, the rock composition where the shaft was dug and so on and so forth. Which only the SDREs know as of now.

Wouldn't a foreign oil company prospecting for oil in Rajasthan, in an area with broadly similar geological characteristics, have a pretty good idea? Then one could do sensitivity analysis for different shaft depths, shapes, etc. combining this with publicly available info on the POK-II shaft characteristics.

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Postby Arun_S » 31 May 2008 22:54

lakshmic wrote:How about increasing the number of neutrons (probability you will infect more percentage of people you meet) ? If we make a hole in the center and fill it with tritium and deuterium, after 1% of the fission has taken place, the temperature rises enough for the tritium and deutrium to fuse and release neutrons. These neutrons are highly energetic and when they strike a plutonium nucleus, they fission and release 4-5 neutrons (instead of 2-3 for normal fission). So if you take one atom tritium, fuse it with one atom deutrium, it releases one neutron, which when it strikes a plutonium nucleus, it releases 5 neutrons, which can fission 5 plutonium atoms more. So within 2 generations, one atom tritium and one atom deutrium can fission 25 atoms plutonium. This is the "boost" in efficiency.

If I may add that the total time fission process is sustained depends on how long the fissile material can be held together in a small volume. There are two forces that are competing, the implosion shock wave that is driving teh matter to a single point to the center, and the heat & pressure generated by the fission that is trying to thow the imploding fissile pit apart. In this regiem every thing is effectively a gas and the only thing that is holding back the pit is simply its inertial mass, and the mass of the plunger that the explosives used to hammer the pit.

The number of atoms that fission grows exponentially, thus the number of atms fissioned in the last 10% of the time is many order higher than the number of fission in the first 10% of the time. I.e. for much of the time the pit stays supercitical the fission chaon reaction is simply building up and not generating as much total fission.

One way to visualize is that let us say on an average a fission generates neutrons that fission 2 more atoms. And the time from first fission to next generation of atoms that fission is say X, At the end of the second fission generation there would be 4 atoms that fissioned, and the next to 3rd generation there would be 8, and and so one. So the build up at the end of n intervals of X is as following:

Code: Select all

Generation#    Fissions in the generation     Sum of all Fissions
1X                    2                                      3
2X                    4                                      7
3X                    8                                      15 
4X                    16                                     31
5X                    32                                     63
6X                    64                                    127
7X                    128                                  255
8X                    256                                  511
9X                    512                                 1023 
10X                   1,024                              2047
11X                   2,048                              4,096
12X                   4,096                              8,191
...                      ...
...                      ...
Let us say the reaction stops after 30 th generation
..
26X                  67,108,867                       134,217,728
27X                  134,217,728                      268,435,456
28X                  268,435,456                      536,870,912
29X                  536,870,912                    1,073,741,824
30X                  1,073,741,824                  2,147,483,647

So the total number of fission double every generation (also total sum of atoms that fission also double every generation).

What Fusion boosting does is that at say at the end of generation 7 the 255 atoms that have fissioned generate enough temperature that the some of the boosting gas (Ti) under goes Fusion that generate energetic neutrons that fission lot more atoms, increase the number of fission atoms in the 8th generation to say 512 (instead of just 256 without boosting) . I.e. Boosting reduced by 1X time the population growth time to reach 512 fissions.

Assuming the weapon dis-assembly time remains unchanged, the last (30th) generation will fission double (2,147,483,648) the number of atoms compared to before. I.e. 100% increase in efficiency & yield.

That is the driving concept behind boosting.
Last edited by Arun_S on 01 Jun 2008 00:39, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby ramana » 31 May 2008 23:22

Folks I have been informed that the CNC machines Sunil used to refer to is with respect to civilian power plants and has nothing to do with any other applications. Sorry for the first post on that subject.

Secondly regardless of S1 worked or otherwise there is a need to proof test the full up configuration in future. This is the sum total of this thread. And for this its irrelevant whether doubts have been cast or not.

I for my self do belive that the papers that BARC provided do show that the yield in POKII was what was stated and I have said so in the BRM paper.

I have made my postion clear and do not intned to particpate further.

1) A full up weapon has to be proof testsed before it can be inducted into service.
2) POKII results were what was stated on may16th news conference.

Thanks for listening so far.

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Postby John Snow » 01 Jun 2008 00:00

folks excellent discussions nad very educative too.

There are three components to the success of such a complex project (Fusion device).

1) The Science aspect (which Sunder garu Lakshmi c Arun Ramana, and many other have contributed here for understanding).

2) The engineering part (which is manufacture, selection and shaping of material)

3) The technology part (which is using the right tools equipment jigs fixtures to materialize what scientists and engineers versioned).



Where is that we can improve (aka went wrong)
Science aspect:
a) The science was not good enough, i.e. the theoretical modeling and understanding?
b) Fundamental research not being pursued in institutions
c) The new crop of young scientist’s replacements becoming scarce?

(Once upon a time when I was growing up MSc Nuclear Physics was most coveted degree for any university than BE or B Tech electronics)

What inputs and infra structure are needed (the so called dual technologies which unkil refers to) for us to catch up?


Engineering Aspect:
a) Do we have manpower (engineers) who are competent engineers to translate the theoretical models of scientists into tangible projects that can be delivered?

b) Do we have the equipment which has the capability built into deliver the precision components (the CNC etc)?

Technology aspect:
a) are we producing enough artisans, foremen, shop floor leadership technical skills ( during the 60s Diploma engineering and ITI candidates used fill this role, with the proliferation of donation engineering colleges I don’t know if Polytechnic and ITI institutes are doing any good , the equivalent to community colleges in US)


Our nearest comparator for progress in science during the 50s 60s 70s (even late 70s) was PRC.

Everybody in International community agreed that Indian science was way ahead of PRC; as far as engineering infrastructure was concerned we were ahead

Then what happened?

Are we in the current state we because we always believed in Piece Full development of Nukes?

Only few Pieces worked, what is the way ahead?

Is it not proof enough that the powers be want us to sign deals so that we are locked in our piece ful efforts only?

(answers like funding was cut, salaries are not good are beaten track solutions, if you pay penuts you get monkeys is well known, is that happened?)





Note PRC progress with out comprable infrastructre with respect to India.


When China decided in 1955 to develop atomic bombs it faced a number of technological choices as to the most appropriate route to follow. At that time China could only work on one path, and had to choose between producing Pu239 from a reactor, or developing the method of producing U235 through isotope separation. The uranium path offered two alternatives, either system, either chemical separation or physical separation. Chemical separation of Pu235 from the mixed system of U235 and U238 would have been easier than physical separation, but the separation of plutonium and uranium was difficult due to the high radioactivity of the Pu-U system, and the severe toxicity of plutonium. Therefore, the chosen path was the physical separation of U235 and U238 isotopes. The implosion method of detonating an atomic bomb was considered more technically advanced, though there were questions as to whether China was capable of producing a uranium bomb detonated by the implosion method.

China made remarkable progress in the 1960s in developing nuclear weapons. In a thirty-two-month period, China successfully exploded its first atomic bomb (October 16, 1964), launched its first nuclear missile (October 25, 1966), and detonated its first hydrogen bomb (June 14, 1967.

The first Chinese nuclear test was conducted at Lop Nor on 16 October 1964 (CHIC 1). It was a tower shot involving a fission device with a yield of 25 kilotons. Uranium 235 was used as the nuclear fuel, which indicates Beijing's choice of the path of creating high-yield nuclear weapons right away. Of the ten test shots that followed by 29 September 1969, six are believed to have been related to thermonuclear development. The others had as their goals the adaptation of CHIC 1 for bomber delivery and test of a missile warhead (CHIC 4). The third nuclear test was conducted on 9 September 1966 using a Tu-16 bomber. In addition to uranium 235, this nuclear device, with a yield around 100 KT, this time contained lithium 6, which attested to China's readiness to test a thermonuclear explosion. CHIC 6, an airdrop test on 17 June 1967, was the first full-yield, two-stage thermonuclear test.


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The Indian Program and All You Wanted to Know About Nukes.

Postby Anant » 01 Jun 2008 00:45

Hello folks,

I have been keenly following the conversation here, expert and not. I wanted to give you a link on a white paper on nuclear weapons. It contains pretty much everything you want about the types of bums, design, physics behind it, engineering, effects, tables, what is does, what it did do, well you know the gita of nukes. Perhaps the experts here can dissect it and store it as a white paper somewhere. Anyways, that link is here.

http://www.milnet.com/nukeweap/Nfaq0.html

Now, I know, this thread was partially started in anxiety due to our own (justifiable fears) that India's nuclear weapon program may be too nascent or immature considering our neighbors. While I fully and strongly agree that there is no substitute to testing, I am a bit more heartened reading the India section. Please refer to:
http://www.milnet.com/nukeweap/Nfaq7-2.html#India

Now, I am quoting an excerpt so as to not violate copyright. I will emphasize what I feel is important. So here goes:

Taken together, India has developed an extensive plutonium production and reprocessing capability. SIPRI has estimated that India had produced 420-450 kg of weapons-grade plutonium through the end of 1995 (70-100 bombs worth). These estimates are based solely on CIR and Dhruva production. About 100 kg of plutonium has been consumed though, principally in fueling two plutonium reactors, leaving 320-350 kg of plutonium available for weapons. Approximately 1000 kg of unsafeguarded reactor-grade plutonium also exists.

India has acquired and developed centrifuge technology and built centrifuge enrichment plants in Trombay and Mysore in the 1980s. The larger Rare Metals Plant (RMP), as it is called, at Mysore has a cascade capable of producing 30% enriched uranium in kilogram quantities, beginning in 1992-93, although reliability has been a problem. These enrichment plants appear to have no role in India's power reactor development plans, so they may be intended to offset the prestige of Pakistan's enrichment capability, or to provide additional standby weapons production capability. India has reported that it plans to build an enriched uranium reactor, and a domestically fueled nuclear submarine.

India's interest in light weight weapon design can be surmised from BARC's acquisition in the 1980s of a vacuum hot pressing machine, suitable for forming large high-quality beryllium forgings, as well as large amounts of high purity beryllium metal. India is known to manufacture tritium, and may have developed designs for fusion-boosted weapons.

Given its immense thorium resources, India is actively interested in developing the thorium/U-233 fuel cycle. India is known to have produced kilogram quantities of U-233 by irradiating thorium in CIR, Dhruva, and MAPS reactors. Substantial production of U-233 is not practical though with natural uranium fueled reactors. The thorium cycle requires more highly enriched fuel to have an acceptable breeding ratio with the non-fissile thorium blanket. Reactor-grade plutonium from MAPS could serve as start-up fuel for U-233 plants in the future. If available, U-233 is as effective a weapon material as plutonium.

Please read this in conjuction to my postings on the US program courtesy of the horse's mouth, Lawrence Livermore Labs and it is quite obvious how we parallel. I am not saying we are ready for prime time. Far from it. I am not saying we are the P-5 in terms of arsenal either. But, I am also saying that we are not in the dark ages as far as bums is concerned. We all know from experts here that India has the smartest people on planet earth or atleast a portion of that population. We don't need to worry about intellectual capital. We just have to work on keeping on working on. I think (my own words), that our capability is far far far more advanced than either the Shakti series tell us or what open source material or what former BARC officials tell us. Why? Because there is a critical mass of talent at these places, time (a significant amount) has passed, and technology has amassed. I would find it hard pressed to believe that any of us would have had a wiff of what is going on at BARC for example in the late 80's. Yet, it was taking place. So, I for one, without undue cheerleading, would say with fair amount of confidence that our nukes are far more advanced (now, in 2008), than we might imagine. These are my own words and I'll stick to them and I think it reflects lock step with the maturity we have in missile development. You can't have a good channa batura without the channa and the batura. It would make no sense. Anyways, dissect it for what it is worth and yes, let's test but not assume that cool things are not going on behind the scenes.

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Postby Anujan » 01 Jun 2008 06:09

John Snow wrote:There are three components to the success of such a complex project (Fusion device).


John snow saar, There is also the raw material aspect (fissile stockpile) of which I am 400% confident onlee. That seems to be the only part where SDREs seem to be very very chanakyan. For example

satyarthi wrote:N-deal will cripple India by Satish Chandra
Third, since it entails the closure of the Cirus research reactor, which contributes one-third of our production of weapons grade fissile material, it will limit the number of warheads that we can make.


SDREs know what they are doing. Unkil knows what SDREs are doing. SDREs are closing down the ration shop (from which they may or may not have stolen atta) to score goodwill from unkil. While in the background SDREs are leaving behind the maal of Bhabha & son's first shop and going to (using arun saar's words) "swatcha-maal" of the second shop. The ration shop maal should last us for 30 years, we would be well into shopping in upscale Reliance supermarket by then. In 4-5 years, we would have returned the ration shop atta and exchanged it for atta from the supermarket. By then we wont have any stories of jugaad like attaching copper fins for cooling .... In a few more years, we will open a third shop dispense with atta and eat rice.

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Postby Anujan » 01 Jun 2008 08:10

ramana wrote:So if this stuff is so complex and complicated then how will the using agencies assure themselves that newer weapons like rrw will work as the previous ones? So sure as daylight there will be a resumption of testing.

Ramana-saar,

I dont know if you read the white paper for the desiderata and raisin-dieter of RRW. The document is here: (PDF) Unkil says:
the nuclear weapons staffing level at the design laboratories are comparable to if not greater than that attained at the design laboratories during the peak period of activity in the mid 1980’s. However, the Complex is rapidly losing experienced nuclear design experts and thus the design experience that has been validated by full weapon tests.

It is of particular concern that the last weapon to undergo a full test was designed in the early 1980s. Presumably, there remain only a few designers in the Complex with actual weapon testing experience.

In particular, NNSA has stipulated, and this Task Force agrees, that a responsive Complex would:
* Resolve a stockpile issue in 12 months
* Adapt a weapon to a new requirement in 18 months
* Develop a weapon for a new requirement in 36 months
* Achieve full production in 48 months
* Be capable of conducting an underground nuclear test in 18 months

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Postby merlin » 01 Jun 2008 10:59

Folks I have been informed that the CNC machines Sunil used to refer to is with respect to civilian power plants and has nothing to do with any other applications. Sorry for the first post on that subject.

Secondly regardless of S1 worked or otherwise there is a need to proof test the full up configuration in future. This is the sum total of this thread. And for this its irrelevant whether doubts have been cast or not.

I for my self do belive that the papers that BARC provided do show that the yield in POKII was what was stated and I have said so in the BRM paper.

I have made my postion clear and do not intned to particpate further.

1) A full up weapon has to be proof testsed before it can be inducted into service.
2) POKII results were what was stated on may16th news conference.

Thanks for listening so far.


So we have come full circle. What use this thread then?

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Postby shiv » 01 Jun 2008 16:21

merlin wrote:
So we have come full circle. What use this thread then?

Merlin garu - when the thread seems at a dead end one can always conjure up new utility for it.

The following video clip is a small part of an original already on YouTube uploaded by someone else. But I have spliced out a 14 seconds of the video that purports to show Pokhran 1998 and I post for viewer opinions.

http://in.youtube.com/watch?v=VRw9AMTad5U

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Postby enqyoobOLD » 01 Jun 2008 16:42

The wonderful discussion permeating into emails brought me here, but I see that this is basically a re-hash of the nuclear deal discussion, with a few good technical posts added, but no hope of getting good "yield" because of all the lead stuck in, I mean posts from the Energizer Bunnies as in "Test NOW! Testing is So Much Easier Than Thinking!

We don't KNOW whether we will lose 1.35 trillion $ worth of economic progress, or 2.32 trillion $ worth, so LET'S TEST NOW and find out!"
:roll:

(I will respect shivji's takeet to keep any further comments about such posts to myself):(

Bottom line seems to be that testing is needed, not nearly so much for reliability of the nuclear weapons (which, Allah be praised, we hope to never have to use) but for the thrill of saying: LOOK! WE TESTED NUKES!

This discussion merely strengthens those who claim that desis want nukes just like Pakis do - for Izzat. H&D.

But Izzat comes from clear demonstration of a modern, well-equipped, EFFECTIVE nation. One that can bring prosperity and unity to the Northeast without losing it to foreign powers. One that modernizes the Himalayan region with roads, airfields and rail lines right up to 18000 feet. One that has EFFECTIVE border controls and airport controls - not idiotic demonstrations like that in kicking out the Paki Burney and then lying about it, and then having to apologize.

Izzat will come from a war-footing transition from an imported fossil-dependant economy to a clean renewable energy economy with distributed generation to eliminate the vulnerability of large power plants to sabotage.

Izzat will come from fast-responding emergency services. And riot-prevention services. Fast and efficient and fair Justice System.

More focus is needed on accelerating technological and governance infrastructure, and quality and effectiveness of services. Not on "testing" weapons of 1945.

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Postby p_saggu » 01 Jun 2008 18:51

shiv wrote:The following video clip is a small part of an original already on YouTube uploaded by someone else. But I have spliced out a 14 seconds of the video that purports to show Pokhran 1998 and I post for viewer opinions.

http://in.youtube.com/watch?v=VRw9AMTad5U


:eek: What is that Black smoke??? There was NO leak of radioactivity. Is it a smoke grenade marker of some sort?

Shiv-ji please please give a link to the complete video.

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Postby ramdas » 01 Jun 2008 19:33

Enqyoob,

The bottom line is that testing is needed for the reliability of our deterrent rather than any concept like izzat H&D etc. While we shall have a minimum credible deterrent, credibility is important.

The standard strategic warhead of a credible nuclear power is in the 100-150 kt range. Thermonuclear weapons with these yields are optimum , given our lack of fissile material. Since doubts have been expressed about S-1 in 1998, testing is necessary to remove all of them. These are not some unnecessary weapons as some disarmament types think.

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Postby vsudhir » 01 Jun 2008 20:01

self-deleted OT
Last edited by vsudhir on 01 Jun 2008 22:10, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby shiv » 01 Jun 2008 21:34

P_saggu - I can't recall the link - it may be a DRDO video - try searching YouTube for "DRDO".

What do people think of the idea of locking this thread?

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Postby JE Menon » 01 Jun 2008 21:52

Given the happenings elsewhere :twisted: I would say it's not a bad idea at all... else you and I will probably be tag-teaming on the "delete post" button :oops:

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Postby p_saggu » 01 Jun 2008 21:52

NO :cry:

Unless nuclear weapons related discussions continue in a new Avatar

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Postby JE Menon » 01 Jun 2008 21:57

OK. Let's put it this way: so long as the posts continue in the same spirit of inquiry and discussion and do not deride fellow members, ex-members, scientists, and so on - y'all know what I mean - I can live with it.

But patience is wearing thin...

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Postby enqyoobOLD » 01 Jun 2008 22:46

lakshmic: After perusing the thread in the Trashcan archive and this one (but apparently missing the pleasantries between some experts) I still maintain that the decision is a simple one, and it is based on logic, not technical intricacies.

Suppose for a moment that India conducts another 5, or, say, 20 UNDERGROUND nuclear tests. (above ground test is verboten, sorry, as spectacular as the mushroom clouds were).
Next day, or next month, GOI announces the yields:

20kT, 153.7kT, 203.257kT, 1.2MT, 13.357kT......

Wallace, or Bubba, or Abdul, or Hong Shin says :P :rotfl: and claims that the variance in the tests was because of the extremely poor quality control of Indian weapons. The 1.3 MT was actually a damp squib, but there was a small earthquake in Pakjab because Mohterma Shrillen ate too much chili.

Where does that leave India? GOI denies, sticks by its figures.

Ramana writes an article (but there is now no BRM or SRR, instead we have sanjachoudhury with phool rationalizations) and proves systematically that the yields were indeed what GOI stated. Someone else gives a possible rationalization for weird spread of yield numbers.


What's different to the "minimum credible deterrence" except that India is now 20 weapons' worth of fissile material short of what India had the day before the tests?

Now let me introduce the other line of thought: QUI BONO?

WHO BENEFITS today if India tests today? Have you thought about that?
**********************************

The other reason given is that despite "behaving well" India is not getting this technology or that technology. Perhaps it has not occurred to people that technology is denied to those who would USE it to advance their own technology. India showed that India might - hence the sanctions.

Solution? Develop indigenous tech.

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Postby vera_k » 01 Jun 2008 23:00

enqyoob wrote: (above ground test is verboten, sorry, as spectacular as the mushroom clouds were).


They are verboten only because of the PTBT. Any nation can pull out of the PTBT with 90 days notice. If this nautanki continues it may have to come to that with some poor island fried with a full court press transmitting on DD 1.

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Postby sraj » 01 Jun 2008 23:46

enqyoob wrote:The other reason given is that despite "behaving well" India is not getting this technology or that technology. Perhaps it has not occurred to people that technology is denied to those who would USE it to advance their own technology. India showed that India might - hence the sanctions.

Solution? Develop indigenous tech
.

Good Solution.

It also happens to knock out the central rationale advanced by deal supporters for signing this deal.

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Postby Gerard » 02 Jun 2008 00:01

In this day and age, a test that produces atmospheric fallout is simply unacceptable. Even North Korea tested underground.

On the business of claim and counterclaim wrt yield... it may be better to simply announce the intent of the tests (proofing, safety, data collection etc) but not the number or the yields of any.

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Postby Anujan » 02 Jun 2008 00:10

enqyoob wrote:lakshmic: After perusing the thread in the Trashcan archive and this one (but apparently missing the pleasantries between some experts) I still maintain that the decision is a simple one, and it is based on logic, not technical intricacies.


N^3 saar,
I completely and unequivocally and vehemently agree with you. If some one asks the question "should we test" the answer is "yes". Thats it. If someone asks when, I would say "in 4 years time".

Now, the discussions in this thread and others meandered around peripheral issues
a. Was S1 a dud ?
b. Will 123/Hyde inhibit our options ?
c. Are people who support 123/Hyde (in particular a subset of the scientists) do so with a view of reducing our strategic options ?
d. Are India weapons designers competent ? What are the pitfalls in weapons design ?
e. Do we have a deterrence at all ?
As JEMenon, Shiv and Ramana-saar had indicated (and I agree) I did not want to go into speculating about the character and motivation of people involved, nor did I want to address any of these issues. Other technical gurus (Arun_S etc) and thinkers (Shiv, Ramana etc) have posted lots and we have had lively discussions in other threads.

On the other hand, I am fascinated about two things
(1) The bum technology. So most of my posts were technology centric and I wanted to share what I knew about bum technology. This should not be misconstrued in any way as a deep technological rationale for not testing.

(2) India's scientific, engineering and technological capabilities. I know better and dont want to post anything about this. All I can say is that more I read and glean information, the more India's nuclear establishment looks like Indian Railways (This is high praise). It is run methodically, with our own innovations and technology useful in the Indian context (While IBM is releasing fancy shmancy advertisement about networking and reliable distributed databases, kuppuswamy in chennai kodambakkam station is booking a ticket for travel between delhi and mumbai)
Last edited by Anujan on 02 Jun 2008 00:12, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby vera_k » 02 Jun 2008 00:11

Gerard wrote:In this day and age, a test that produces atmospheric fallout is simply unacceptable.


It could be useful as a negotiating tactic. A debate between an atmospheric test versus an underground test is better than a debate between an underground test and no test.

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Postby Arun_S » 02 Jun 2008 00:14

The issue at hand is that Indian people and intelligentsia should understand the limits of Indian nuclear weapons capability and relate it to the national needs for current and next generation, before pursuing a treaty that neuters Indian option to wield the weapons and be ready much before the need to use it as a pressure point to make a challenger yield to Indian terms.

Even if the 45kT claim is accepted at face value, that yield is inconsequential in the real nuclear poker game. India must test a >150kt weapon now/ASAP.

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Postby Anujan » 02 Jun 2008 00:15

vera_k wrote:It could be useful as a negotiating tactic. A debate between an atmospheric test versus an underground test is better than a debate between an underground test and no test.


vera_k, Atmospheric test where ? We are not like Unkil with poodles in the north and south with 2 huge oceans on either side. If India wants to test in thinly populated areas, it leaves us only Rajasthan and our islands on either side. The Islands are ruled out due to security concerns, Rajasthan means fallout on Indian territory and Paki territory and is a hugely provocative act (Pakis would test a couple of their own and everybody in Punjab, Rajasthan and Gujrat would end up with thyroid cancer).

Instead, we need a second underground or mountain test range with no "Khetolai 3 Kms onlee" and as Arun_S saar suggested, set off a 400Kt there. Dunno if there is space anywhere. Rajasthan is good because of lack of groundwater. Wonder if we have any nice atolls.

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Postby SaiK » 02 Jun 2008 00:24

I'd would put lakshwadeep islands, and 50meters++ under sea surface test is the perfect place. Need to establish a testing center before that. Furthermore, a NIOT center and a deep sea oil rig installations could help as well, giving jobs to those fishermen.


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