Hans Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Washington-based Federation of American Scientists, is in the news for an academic paper he has co-authored with Robert Norris, claiming that Pakistan has ramped up its nuclear arsenal with sophisticated bomb designs, and with its delivery systems directed against India. He spoke to Ashish Kumar Sen on the Pokhran-II controversy. Excerpts:
Do you agree with former DRDO scientist K. Santhanam’s assertion that Pokhran-II was a fizzle rather than a big bang?
Perhaps not a fizzle, but certainly not the 45-kilotonnes claimed. But an assessment is complicated by the fact that the tests on May 11, 1998, were conducted simultaneously.
On what basis do you say that the thermonuclear device could not have yielded 45 kilotonnes?
Indian scientists initially said the May 11 tests were 43, 12, and 0.2 kt. Later reports said 45, 15, and 0.2 kt. The three claimed explosions were simultaneous, but the total claimed yield of 45-60 kt yield...