India releases pictures of nuclear tests
May 17, 1998
Web posted at: 2:22 p.m. EDT (1822 GMT)
First pictures of the underground nuclear tests
NEW DELHI, India (CNN) -- India on Sunday released pictures of the five nuclear tests it conducted last week, showing the
arid desert sites where the underground explosions took place.
Called the Shakti (power) campaign, it involved two big
explosions, including a thermonuclear "hydrogen bomb"
explosion, and three smaller blasts involving a nuclear yield
of below one kiloton.
Top scientists who led the program addressed a news
conference, where the government released photographs and
showed a video of the blasts as well as providing scientific
details of the tests.
The video footage shook violently during the main explosion.
The first blast involved a yield of 12 kilotons, and the
second, a thermonuclear device, 43 kilotons, (almost
three times more powerful than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima) the government said in a statement.
The three others had a yield of less than one kiloton.
The first three were exploded on May 11 and the other two
tested on May 13 in the Pokhran range of the northwestern
state of Rajasthan, some 600 km (360 miles) from the state
Village near where the nuclear tests were conducted
A photo taken after the first blast showed crater-like slopes
formed by the explosion in a vast stretch of rocky land
dotted with bushes and surrounded by debris consisting of
iron rods and tanks.
The second one, the biggest blast, was at a site one km (0.6
mile) away, and showed a few shrubs and metallic debris piled
up on a sandy stretch.
The third blast site showed a grassy desert patch with debris
encircled by a fence. The other two tests were conducted on a
"The tests... have provided critical data for the validation
of our capability in the design of nuclear weapons of
different yields for different applications and different
delivery systems," Indian scientists said in a statement.
A defense expert, K. Subrahamanyam, told CNN, "the low yield is usually used for battlefield weapons, missiles and even
The nuclear tests evoked condemnation from Western nations
and resulted in economic sanctions from the United States,
Japan and Canada.
An India Foreign Ministry official said Saturday that U.S.
sanctions alone would cost the Indian economy $1 billion a
A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, the scientific adviser to the Defense
Minister and head of Department of Atomic Energy and the
Defense Research and Development Organization, told a news
conference that India's program could not be "throttled" by
Residents complain of sickness
Several residents of Khetolai village near the test site
complained of nose-bleeds, skin and eye irritation, vomiting
and loose bowels since the blasts, the Sunday Statesman
Local authorities told Reuters last week there had been
no complaints. Scientists said there was no harmful
radioactivity from the "contained" nuclear tests.
New Delhi Bureau Chief Anita Pratap and Reuters contributed to this report.
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