Chagai tests and the PU sample

ramana
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Chagai tests and the PU sample

Postby ramana » 09 Dec 1999 11:44

Chagai tests and PU sample<P>In May 1998, Pakistan tested on two dates-May 28th and the 30th. Preliminary seismic data indicated that the Richter scale readings were 4.6 and 4.2 respectively. The Pakistanis announced in July first week that the yields for the first test were, one and half times the Hiroshima weapon and the second test was sixty percent the first device. This translates to 30 kt and 18 kt. However the seismic signature corresponds to values one quarter of the announced design values. This gave rise to speculation that one the test had fizzled. MSNBC was prominent in carrying this view immediately after the tests. The second view was that due to geology some de-coupling took place and exhibited a lower seismic signature. However an earthquake in that region prior to these tests as documented by the Wallace report was used to calibrate the region and shows no evidence of de-coupling. The third view was that Pakistan had indeed tested such low yield devices and the design values announced were a sign of the range of inventory obtained previously.<BR>PU Sample report<BR>The picture got complicated in January 1999, when details of a missing PU sample obtained, by US planes, from the region were leaked. The sample was, supposedly collected from the area by US planes flying over Chagai after the second test. It was subsequently lost or misplaced in one of the US weapon labs and could not be confirmed. This data was leaked to show how the weapons labs had lax security and procedures. It does confirm some thing is amiss. Some PU was detected and the US is reluctant to come to conclusions with scanty evidence. The Pakistani press had reported that the tunnels at Chagai were started in 1978 and completed by 1982. After the first round of tests on May 28, the US press reported that hectic activity was going on in open sight of satellites to prepare a new test site at Ras Koh, which was a shaft as opposed to the previous ones, which were tunnels. It is possible this has vented, and the US plane detected the PU sample.<BR>Origins of PU sample<BR>However Pakistan’s Khusab reactor, which can provide PU went critical in October 1999, much later after the tests and could not have provided the PU for the Chagai tests. The source of PU detected at Chagai can only be from outside Pakistan. <BR>China, which has provided significant help to the Pakistani nuclear program, could have provided the PU in the following ways:<BR>One, the triggers for the devices were Chinese designs using PU and as one of the tests vented it released the PU sample. This explanation would account for the small quantity detected. It must be from the second test as it is a shaft as opposed to a tunnel. And the seismic signature is small compared to the first indicating it is a different design.<BR>Secondly, they could have provided the actual device itself. This could explain the flurry of flights of Pakistani officials from Islamabad to Beijing prior to the tests. If this is so, then, the Chinese have tested at Chagai. This would be a violation of the CTBT Article I and II already. For the doubters, please check fas.org for description of the last Chinese test- yield, seismic signature etc. It is similar to the signature at Chagai- low 4s or so.<BR>If this scenario is right then, the US is understandably very concerned prior to the Senate consideration of the CTBT, as it would throw doubt on everything that they negotiated with the Chinese. Some of these thoughts must have went through the Senators minds as they voted out the ratification of the treaty in order to keep the option to test open.<BR>Another explanation is that the sample came from other tests conducted before the Pakistani tests. In fact George Perkovich suggests that due to freak wind patterns the sample was carried over to the Pakistani test site from earlier Indian tests. We should examine which of the tests could have vented and does physical geography permit such freak behavior. The Indians conducted three tests on May 11 and two more on May 13. Most tests as can be inferred from data released by India, used PU in some form or the other. Of the tests, Shakti-1 had a mound shape to the crater as opposed to the subsidence crater for the others. It was stated to be purposely reduced in yield to ensure minimal environmental damage to nearby residential structures. In all possibility it might have vented. Also the press reports of the May 11th tests indicated that the test was delayed from early morning to late afternoon, (local time) to ensure the right wind pattern in order to avoid any problems for the local population. The village of Kheotalai is south east of the test site based on maps provided after the tests. <BR>However, the wind patterns blow from West to East in the Northern Hemisphere and as Pakistan lies to the West it is unusual for this to have happened. The sample has to remain airborne at high altitude, for at least nineteen days ( May 11th to May 30th). Further, Chagai is quite distant from the Indian test site being more than 700 km. The odds of this freak occurrence happening must be very, very low as they involve multiplying the probabilities of each of these independent events- venting, wind pattern and being airborne for nineteen days.<P>Then what is a rational explanation?<BR>One clue is the extreme reluctance of the US to put its facts on the table. It does not want to antagonize the Chinese and the Pakistanis by accusing of them collaboration in the Chagai tests. Immediately after the tests, it joined ranks with the P-5 in condemning the Indian tests and in passing the UN Security Council Resolution 1172. Accusing the Chinese now of the providing PU for the Chagai tests would undermine the cooperation it is receiving from China in resolving the South Asian tests. Hence it would do everything in its power to keep this issue under wraps. For it involves violation of NPT and CTBT by one of the P-5 and there is no power on earth which can do anything about this. If there was no suspected Chinese involvement the US would comedown heavily on all the actors. They have taken drastic action based on scantier evidence.<BR>On the Indian side it is possible they know that there was some venting. It is possible they feel that accepting some venting took place would provide ammunition to their critics inside and outside the government. This in no way detracts from their technical achievement. However, evidence of Sino-Pak collaboration in Chagai tests should not be swept under this fear as it underlines the need for the tests as nothing else can.<BR>Another piece of the puzzle is did Pakistan pursue low yield weapons at all? There are numerous references for the quest of Pakistan for low yield weapons. In his book ‘Future of Land Warfare’ Chris Bellamy provides references to articles by Pakistani officers in their journals about developing doctrine and tactics for low yield weapons in armored combat. Robert Windrem in his report on MSNBC, talks about the Chinese having sent a delegation to Islamabad, to study the modifications being suggested by the Pakistanis.<BR>Thus there are credible reports of the Pakistani quest for low yield devices. Does China have low yield devices? China conducted 45 tests from 1964 to 1996. It conducted 12 tests in the nineties. Remarkably the tests were mostly large seismic signature and except for the last test have Richter reading Mb.4.9 or above. The last test has similar reading to the Chagai tests- mid 4.0 levels. Also, the Chinese test program was halted prior to the CTBT being introduced at the Conference on Disarmament (CD) in 1996. Hence it is plausible that the Chinese thought the Chagai test would be a good occasion to complete their tests.<BR>Reality<BR>The reality possibly lies in a combination of events. The Pakistani tests did use plutonium from the Chinese and their tests did vent. The PU sample was detected by US plane. US does not want to jeopardize the newfound solidarity with China on nuclear issues. On the other hand the Indian tests could also have vented but it is stretching the laws of probability too far to claim that the sample detected at Chagai was from Indian tests-possible but not probable. A curious aspect, is unlike their counterparts in India, Pakistan has been extremely reluctant to provide post test analysis to back up their initial claims.<BR>Coming back to what is the yield range for the devices in Pakistani arsenal? The yield ranges from 30 kt to 4kt. Both are dual delivery systems- aircraft and missiles.<P><BR>To be resolved:<P> * What is the significance of the L shaped tunnel? Probably has to do with weapon testing.<BR> <BR>* What was the stunt on May 17/18 at the G-8 summit when Kohl and Hashimoto made statements which they had to retract later? Was it a fizzle? And the Pakistani leadership rushed to Beijing for spares?<P>* Were the test for deterrence credibility? Because if they received a tested design from China as alleged by US press, what was the need to test? Testing would be meaningful only if it was to proof the local manufacture.<P>* If the tunnels were started in ‘78 what were the Western agencies thinking? Time to recall Adm. Jeremiah? Why was the seismic station installed at Nilore, Pakistan when the tunnels are at Chagai? Was it to monitor Pokhran while keeping a half-closed eye on Chagai? What was the stuff about Pakistan readying tunnels in Dec. ‘95? The tunnels were already ready in ‘82.<P>* What is the significance of 1978? KS in his book "Nuclear Myths and Realities" says that Z.A. Bhutto in his memoirs from his cell, had alluded to some secret work he had undertaken in 1977 with China which future generations of Pakistanis would be proud of him. Was the Chagai site being readied as a follow up to his mission? Also Mrs. Gandhi was readying the Pokhran site in early 1981~’83 period. Was this in response to Chagai? President R. Venkatraman in his article in ET says it was independent of any threat. Were the Indians unaware of Chagai? India Today article reporting on the POK-2 round of tests, indicates India had improved the POK-1 design and come up with boosted designs by 1981. Were these being considered in 1981? Arun Shourie indicates that Mrs. Gandhi was disturbed by Sanjay’s death but came back on track by 1982.<P>1) Hindu, June 30, 1998. Report about details of Pak. tests.<BR>2) Indian Express, Oct., 12, 1998, ‘Pakistan’s claims on Nuclear tests exaggerated- Chidambaram’<BR>3) Ind. Express, 2 July, 1998, ‘ Pakistan tunnel work began in 1978’<BR>4) <BR>-------<BR>Incidently this is my 1001th post on BRF. I wanted it to be something meaningful and add to the collective memory of the Forum. I would like to confine myself to similar endeavours in future. I also will think twice before posting to see, if am adding value to the discussion without indulging in brutus fulmen. I wrote this on seeing quincy's post in the PA structure thread.

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Re: Chagai tests and the PU sample

Postby Muppalla » 09 Dec 1999 12:20

A very nice post and congratulations for the post #1001.<P>I have few questions here ...<BR>1) Is there a possibility of India getting the report from US ( as you mentioned US doesn't want to persue with China it can use India here...)<BR>2) Can India use this as an excuse from not signing CTBT ???

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Re: Chagai tests and the PU sample

Postby shiv » 09 Dec 1999 15:15

Congrats ramama - you ought to get a prize for putting up the maximum number of meaningful messages contributing massively in improving the signal-noise ratio on this forum.

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Re: Chagai tests and the PU sample

Postby Philip » 09 Dec 1999 20:26

Ramanna,an excellent piece of deduction.You have put your finger on the spot with the reference to the statement by Kohl and Co.which was incorrect-paki tests.It reminds me of the dog that did not bark in a Sherlock Holmes story!To me,it appears that the nexus between pak and China goes beyond what we have estimated it to be.I remember a report on Cinese philosophy on nuclear weapons,where it is th confirmd Chinese policy to proliferate nuclear weapons in order to cut the superpowers down to size.<P>The Chinese have according to the Cox report stolen almost everything n the US's nuclear cupboard.After India's tests at P-2,the opportunity was too tempting for the Chinese ,to test some of their warheads whcih they could not openly do.It is beyond comprehension that Pakistan could in a couple of weeks test six warheads!If indeed six were tested,then it could only have been done with the use of some Chinese warheads.<P>The profuse statement by Nawaz Sharif immediately after the paki tests,thanking the Chinese leadership for it's assistance takes on a new meaning when viewed in the Pu light!What this underlines is that there is little difference in drawing a distinction between China and pakistan when it comes to nuclear weapons.They are both two sides of the same coin.Pakistan's nuclear weapons could be therefore considered the western nuclear arsenal of China.

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Re: Chagai tests and the PU sample

Postby geeth » 09 Dec 1999 20:53

<B>In May 1998, Pakistan tested on two dates-May 28th and the 30th. Preliminary seismic data indicated that the Richter scale readings were 4.6 and 4.2 respectively.</B><P>Ramana,<P>Pardon my ignorance, what should be the standard yeild (assuming the geology doesn't play ball-as you said in your post) for such a measure in Richter Scale, in your opinion?<P>Gohar Ayub Khan said three devices were tested, Nawas corrected him and said six, and George confirmed it to be half a bomb. Whom should we believe? or all are wrong?

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Re: Chagai tests and the PU sample

Postby Calvin » 09 Dec 1999 20:54

The american reluctance to antagonize China is directly traceable to Clinton's "historic" visit to China that was due later that summer. PM Kamath makes the case that Clinton leaked ABV's letter to assuage Chinese sentiment. In that light, American coverup of the Pu and its source is also traceable to the same sentiment.

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Re: Chagai tests and the PU sample

Postby Amit Mitra » 09 Dec 1999 21:20

Thank you - an excellent and thought provoking post Ramana. The extent of Clinton's collusion with China against Indian interests, its impact on US and Indian postures and interests should be a topic for open debate in the US senate.<P>I wonder how much of this was in deference to Chinese contributions to his kitty that have never been fully investigated.

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Re: Chagai tests and the PU sample

Postby JE Menon » 09 Dec 1999 23:30

Thanx Ramana, great post as usual. Good of you to respond to my not-so-subtle hint in the Quincy thread.<P>Best Regards<BR>JE Menon<p>[This message has been edited by JE Menon (edited 09-12-1999).]

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Re: Chagai tests and the PU sample

Postby Rupak » 10 Dec 1999 00:16

Ramana<P>Thanks for that great post, as always.

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Re: Chagai tests and the PU sample

Postby merlin » 10 Dec 1999 01:19

Every once in a while comes a really good post. Good one ramana.<P>On a side note, I wonder how far the Pakistanis trust the Chinese. Even if the Chinese supplied them with a working design, would the Pakistanis trust the Chinese design to work as expected, especially when it would be fabricated in Pakistan ?<P>I wonder if the Chinese thought about the scenario where an irrational Pakistani leadership got ready to hit us with a nuclear strike and we threatened to bomb China in retaliation ? If the Pakistani leadership were so far gone that they were unable to see reason and desist, then it would be in Chinas interest to ensure that the bombs were duds or atleast fizzles.<BR>

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Re: Chagai tests and the PU sample

Postby Arun_S » 10 Dec 1999 01:59

Very though provoking indeed , as usual. However I think this one was extra special, and very apt for your 1001 forey.<P>Keep it coming.<BR>Many Thanks & Cheers -Arun

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Re: Chagai tests and the PU sample

Postby ramana » 10 Dec 1999 07:47

Thanks for the responses. I will try to answer to the best of my<BR>knowledge.<P>Mupplla,<BR>1) Possibility of India getting report from US?<BR> The news reports indicate the sample was lost. Besides it is <BR> India's problem. I am not sure that the US turning a Nelson'<BR> eye to Chinese proliferation was not in its self-interest. So <BR> why would it turn over anything? That would jeopardize its new<BR> relationship with China and is same as accusing them of passing<BR> on stuff to Pakistan. Also I dont see the wisdom of India being<BR> a baton boy for the US in this matter. It would increase the <BR> threat perception among its neighbors. Further I dont want to see<BR> India being used by anyone. India is too big to allow<BR> itself to be used by anyone.<BR>2) India should decide on CTBT on its own merits. Excuses would <BR> detract from the status it seeks. IOW, the CTBT decision should <BR> be taken according to its inherent worth or lack thereof.<P>LNS,<BR> Dont you think the US Senate already knows all this? They <BR> expressed their views with the rejection of the ratification<BR> of CTBT. Bottomline is they have found common ground with<BR> Indian opinion- an option to test is essential in this new world<BR> disorder. But the chatterati in India are still pursuing the<BR> signing of CTBT. Notice the debate in US is OVER. <BR> It has to be new different treaty with different requirements. What <BR> Kissinger is talking about is that new treaty as the current one <BR> does not allow modification or conditions. <BR> US tried to attach some reservations but these are not <BR> really legal. However who is going to enforce them?<P>philip,<BR> My thoughts when I set about to write were also based on the<BR> the curious aspect of the dog that did not bark- I think it is<BR> the 'Case of Silver Blaze' in Sherlock Holmes. The US would have<BR> been like a ton of bricks if there was no Chinese connection. I am<BR> glad you have recounted some of the aspects of Nawaz Sharif's <BR> speech and the aspect of six tests - fissile materials. Immediately<BR> after the tests Janes speculated that Pak had blown half its known<BR> inventory. Would that be possible? <BR> I like to see total picture. If the tests were fizzles, Gohar Ayub <BR> would have been despondent and not so jubilant. Rememeber he was the<BR> sacked Foriegn Minister when all this happened.<BR> It also means that the heavy duty models they got based<BR> on China's fourth test were not tested again. Only new stuff.<P> I have to add one more probability- that of this lone particle being<BR> detected by the US plane. All these are three sigma events- venting<BR> in S-1( India is not a beginner at testing), wind pattern, distance <BR> between Pokharan and Chagai, sample being airborne for nineteen days,<BR> and this sample being detected. All five events have to occur <BR> simultaneously. Any statistical gurus would like to take a crack at this?<BR> My take is (1- prob(3sigma))^5 for the independent events i.e.<BR> (1-0.9973)^5 assuming normal distribution. This equals 1.435E-13.<BR> Assuming that it could travel to Chagai as some shows on Discovery <BR> Channel about windborne upper atmosphere lifeforms, the probability<BR> becomes (1-0.9973)^4 equals 5.31E-11. So chances of this realistically<BR> happening are statistically unlikely.<BR> KS in one of his editorials has said that he considers Pakistan's nukes <BR> as China's proxy arsenal except the authorization to launch is with <BR> the local players RATs( Rogue Army of Terrorists). In a way it is <BR> akin to US behaviour of deploying nukes on allies territory and holding<BR> them in escrow in case of all-out war. However once the PALs(Permissive<BR> Access Links)were implemented they came back under US control. theChinese<BR> went one step further thats all. <BR>geeth,<BR> If the announced yield by Dr. Mubarik Mand as reported in Hindu,<BR> July 1, 1998 are correct- 30kt(1.5*20) and 18kt(.6*30) then using<BR> data for Pokhran the readings should be close to 5.1 for the first and<BR> 4.95 for the second. Formula<BR> Mb = 3.95 + .8*log Y.<BR> 3.95 assumes a sandy soil whle Chagai is rocky. The detected values <BR> were 4.6 and 4.2 so you can back calculate. Keep in mind that the<BR> Chagai geology is rocky.<BR>Calvin,<BR> I agree there are strategic reasons for the Sino-US cooperation. We<BR> agree on this matter. Kamath has been doing a yeoman service in<BR> highlghting this aspect. While he does bring in Huntington's thesis<BR> I think the US is trying to prevent such a civilizational divide<BR> at the cost of doing a Czechoslovakia on India. The idea of POK-2 <BR> is to ensure that this does not happen.<BR>Amit Mitra,<BR> I think as it affects Indian interests, it is a matter for India to<BR> debate and settle the internal arguement first (Is china a threat?).<BR> From this stems Indian policy moves and postures. That could be a <BR> subject for the US Senate.<BR> Bringing in allegations of fundraising detracts from big picture<BR> and could lead to wrong conclusions and even worse, wrong policy.<BR>merlin, <BR> Arent you assuming something there? I think the whole AQK labs is <BR> charade. It is cover story for the Chinese transfer of limited nukes <BR> to counter and tie up India regionally. If AQK had really achieved<BR> local mfg. he would not be slighted as he was during and after the <BR> tests. We know sub-continental psychology. You bring the goods you <BR> will be lionized. Else it is doghouse. He still has a purpose of<BR> having provided the cover story for the gifted nukes. On your other<BR> concern, he who gives gifts knows how to control the gifts- no<BR> Bhasmasura angle here.<BR> Your issue of proxy strikes is addressed in the DND. However<BR> it has to be read with out the rhetoric from Indian critics who are<BR> still to come to terms with POK-2 and also come out of the BJP<BR> bashing mode. In this case they really should shed their 'rose'<BR> colred glasses!<BR> <BR>Most articles on BRF should be read as a whole including the informed <BR>comments of the participants. Once again thanks for the input. Now <BR>for Quincy's remarks and a forlorn plea to Chetan.<P><BR>

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Re: Chagai tests and the PU sample

Postby Amit Mitra » 10 Dec 1999 11:12

How might China, US and Pakistan respond if we conduct covert proliferation to Taiwan, as China has done to Pakistan?<P>Can anyone hazard any scenarios or likely events?

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Re: Chagai tests and the PU sample

Postby Prof Raghu » 10 Dec 1999 20:51

Ramana,<BR>Do we have your permission to take this, and with perhaps very little modification, send to any Reps or Senators or their staffs (especially those in Foreign/Intl Affairs or intel committees)?<BR>(99% they may be aware of these from other sources - but there always is that 1 percent! plus, what if the analyses they saw are not exactly unbiased?)

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Re: Chagai tests and the PU sample

Postby Amit Mitra » 10 Dec 1999 22:27

<<The picture got complicated in January 1999, when details of a missing PU sample obtained, by US planes, from the region were leaked. The sample was..subsequently lost ..The source of PU detected at Chagai can only be from outside Pakistan. China, which has provided significant help to the Pakistani nuclear program, could ..have provided the actual device itself. This could explain the flurry of flights of Pakistani officials from Islamabad to Beijing prior to the tests..If this is so, then, the Chinese have tested at Chagai. This would be a violation of the CTBT Article I and II..it would throw doubt on everything that they negotiated with the Chinese>><P>The loss of the sample smells very strongly of fish. Are there any vested interests in the US bureaucracy that might have found it very embarrasing to throw all their negotiations with the Chinese in doubt?<p>[This message has been edited by Amit Mitra (edited 10-12-1999).]

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Re: Chagai tests and the PU sample

Postby Amit Mitra » 10 Dec 1999 22:33

For some reason a part of my post is getting deleted. I hope I can get the truncated piece to appear here. It is the extracts from Ramana's original that I responded to:<P>________________<BR>The picture got complicated in January 1999, when details of a missing PU sample obtained, by US planes, from the region were leaked. The sample was..subsequently lost ..The source of PU detected at Chagai can only be from outside Pakistan. China, which has provided significant help to the Pakistani nuclear program, could ..have provided the actual device itself. This could explain the flurry of flights of Pakistani officials from Islamabad to Beijing prior to the tests..If this is so, then, the Chinese have tested at Chagai. This would be a violation of the CTBT Article I and II..it would throw doubt on everything that they negotiated with the Chinese

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Re: Chagai tests and the PU sample

Postby P Babu » 10 Dec 1999 23:49

Good analysis....I will also try to send<BR>this article to some senator if there is<BR>no copyright on this.. Image<P>

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Re: Chagai tests and the PU sample

Postby O Vijay » 11 Dec 1999 01:53

Ramana, nice analysis and congrats on your 1001 post. Couple of questions:<P>1) Is the Cox report a fallout of the suspected Chinese proliferation? IOW, did Nawaj spill the beans to Uncle Sam? And the Uncle does not want the Chinese to know that they know what the Chinese are doing? If so, how would keeping quiet help the Americans?<P>2) What's up with the U2 overflight over Pokhran couple of months ago? Were the Americans hoping to catch us red-handed doing sub-critical tests? Do the sub-critical tests vent PU or any other telltale substances?

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Re: Chagai tests and the PU sample

Postby ramana » 11 Dec 1999 09:50

Vijay,<BR>Cox report was due to concerns about influence peddling by foriegn donors- it is local politics in US. It confirmed that China has the latest US technology. Nothing else.<P>Dont know what you are talking about U-2 flights etc. Could you be more specific? Also please dont use words like sub-critical etc in casula manner. Thanks.<P>Others,<BR> Sure use what you need but dont give out my e-mail. I dont want to be pesetered by unknowns.<BR>Prabhakar,<BR> In US the author has copyrights. Thats whats IPR is about.

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Re: Chagai tests and the PU sample

Postby Sunil » 11 Dec 1999 12:55

Ramana,<P>this U2 stuff has me foxed.. <P>vent..hmm.. a vent is when the chimney formed atop the underground cavity breaks the surface.. and a jet of very nasty radioactive stuff spews out.. it happens if you get the depth calculations wrong (i guess).. if the damn thing vents.. doesn't it create a godawful mess..? <P>a U2 flies fairly high.. how exactly does it pick up a trace that high. in an over ground explosion i can understand.. but underground..???..? and what exactly did they do on this.. ? NAA (Neutron Activation Analysis) to determine its source.. is it possible to run a test on a sample that is so small? <P>The report of the Pu sample going missing is uncorroborated.. so ramana.. i am not very sure if it is a good idea to release this article to anyone. might affect credibility later. <BR><p>[This message has been edited by sunil sainis (edited 11-12-1999).]

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Re: Chagai tests and the PU sample

Postby ramana » 12 Dec 1999 02:43

Sunil, When they talk of venting it is due to inadequate depth of burial and the concrete plug not having cured. What happens is thin column of noble gases and debris shoot up into uper atmosphere and stays there for a period of time. An aircraft ussually gatehrs this stuff by means of an airpump which sucks in air through a filter paper. The paper is then put through whatever detection machines- counters etc. From this debris analysis one can get a very clear picture of the test. During the early Chinese tests India recovered many samples and knew a lot about what was going on. You get this picture from the declassified memos at the NSA archive in DC.<BR>The missing sample story came in from US news reports in early Jan.(NYT or WP) Will see if there are any archives at fas or other sites.


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