NSA rubbishes Santhanam's Pokhran claims

Narayanan said the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC), which comprises a peer group of scientists, last week made a “most authoritative” statement on the efficacy of the 1998 nuclear tests and no more clarification was required from the government on the matter.

He added that AEC, an independent commission and the highest body in such matters, was asked to study the data of the 1998 tests once again in the wake of the controversy over the efficacy of the hydrogen bomb following the statements by former DRDO scientist K Santhanam.

Eminent scientists like C N R Rao, P Rama Rao and M R Srinivasan were members of AEC, and the doyen of the nuclear programme, Raja Ramanna, was part of the apex nuclear body, which went into the test results in 1998.

“The thermonuclear device had a yield of 45 kilotons. I have chosen my words carefully — 45 kilotons — and nobody, including Mr Santhanam, who has absolutely no idea what he is talking about, can contest what is proven fact by the data which is there,” Narayanan said.

He claimed that a “very authoritative piece” about the nature of the tests written by AEC Chairman Anil Kakodkar and senior scientist S K Sikka was being “examined by physicists all over the world.”

Narayanan said former AEC chairman P K Iyengar had admitted that the yield of the thermoculear test “might have been 45 kilotons and had raised doubts on the fission and fusion reactions happening at the same time.” Narayanan said Santhanam was not privy to the information on which the test measurements were taken.

“As the NSA, I know what the DRDO is supposed to do and what it knows. I think he is not merely exaggerating, I think he is talking something which is horrific,” he said, adding that there was no need for a public debate on the issue as it required to have a clear idea of the explosive ballistics, neutron physics, material sciences and computer simulation.

On the US move to press for a UN Security Council resolution calling upon all countries to sign the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), he said the issue had already been raised with the Americans who have assured India it would not affect the civil nuclear agreement.

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