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Mainstream, Vol XLVII, No 51, December 5, 2009

Very Serious Scientific Data Falsification by Ramachandran-Chidambaram

Tuesday 8 December 2009, by Ashok Parthasarathi, K. Santhanam, P K Iyengar


A careful, in-depth study, of Graphs 4 and 1 of Ramachandran’s September 25, Frontline article “Pokhran Row” reveals:

a) Graph 4 is titled: “Gamma-Ray Spectrum of a Typical Sample of a (H-bomb) Thermonuclear Test”—not of the specific H-bomb test conducted on May 11, 1998!

b) The vertical ‘Y’ axis of Graph 4 is merely titled “Counts”

c) There are no numbers at all on the ‘Y’ axis of both Graphs.

Serious mistakes of physics have been committed here

i) (b) and (c) are appalling; no professional scientist would commit such blunders, unless it has been deliberately done. ‘Counts’ have to be converted into Disintegrations through calibration of the Gamma Ray Sensors to take due account of the sensor efficiency across a fairly wide range of gamma ray energy values to get any meaningful, let alone accurate, results. Moreover, as the error margin goes as the square root of the counts/disintegrations the error margins would be very high; how high were they? No indications at all!!

ii) Graph 1 does not indicate the range of depths involved of the samples derived from the post-test molten core mass. Furthermore, the ratio of the Manganese isotope 54 (Mn54) to Cerium isotope 144 (Ce144) is seen to fluctuate wildly in the case of Test ‘A’ viz. the H-bomb test—and very much more so than in the case of Test ‘B’—which is the Atomic Bomb test. There is no valid nuclear physics reason for the former—i.e. the H-bomb test’s massive fluctuations other than the H-bomb detonation having been so marginal that, what should have been a pure “nuclear melt”, was actually, so seriously contaminated by its surrounding rock and earth, that a truly large and pure melt from an H-bomb of 45 kilo tons yield, as claimed by Chidambaram, was just not achieved! This argument is strengthened by the fact that the fluctuations in the case of the A-bomb on the same Graph 1 are far far less because the A-bomb not only worked but worked perfectly with a substantial yield of 25 kilo tons of TNT explosive equivalent and creating a crater 25 metres in diameter and 20 metres deep!!!

The Manganese: Cerium ratio is stated by Ramachandran to have been normalised to 1 in the fission device. Since the Y-axis in Graph 1 is a ratio, and is shown to be linear i.e. a straight line, the value on that axis for the Mn54: Ce144 ratio is only a factor of 2 i.e. only double in the H-bomb test as compared to that in the A-bomb case. Yet, at his September 24 press conference in Mumbai (see The Hindu, September 25, p. 12), Chidambaram stated: “In the Manganese-54: Cerium-144 yield ratios from the samples taken from the two test sites—A-bomb and H-bomb—this ratio for the thermonuclear (H-bomb) test samples is seen as a high multiple of the ratio for the fission (A-bomb) test samples.”!! How could he say so when, as we have shown, the ratio is only two times? Two times cannot, by any stretch of imagination, be termed “a high multiple” i.e. 8, 10 or 20 times!! Graph 1 does not indicate this AT ALL!! Moreover, there are no numbers on the Y-axis of both Graphs! Graph 1 is merely titled “Ratios of yields of Manganese 54 and Cerium 144 in Fission (A-bomb) and Thermo-nuclear
(H-bomb) explosions undertaken on May 11, 1998”. What is more, the above referred to observations cannot be lightly disposed off as being “for reasons of Non-Proliferation objectives”, as Chidambaram unsuccessfully and incredibly tries to in his press conference! They do not reveal any details of the design of either the H or A-bombs and so Chidambaram cannot use the totally unwarranted “secrecy trick” to hide a major technical failure!! Any nuclear phycist worth his salt, who has really and objectively measured the radioactive samples’ Gamma Ray Spectrum, will very strongly question Chidambaram’s claims at the press conference as we do, strongly and categorically. So, the harsh, cold facts presented by AP and KS in their article: “Pokhran II Thermonuclear Device (H-bomb) Failed: BARC must learn to Tell the Truth” in the September 17 issue of The Hindu [reproduced in Mainstream (September 26, 2009)], remain totally valid.

To come now to Graph 4 in Ramachandran’s article. The Graph, in two halves, depicts the Gamma Ray spectra obtained from a sample taken from the 1 at the Pokhran Test Site in which the H-bomb was detonated, A Gamma Ray spectrum from a nuclear device/bomb sample, allegedly generated by an equipment called a Multi-channel Analyser, is shown in the two halves, but the Scale in “Counts” on the vertical ‘Y’ axis has no numbers on it! This causes serious doubts regarding the very veracity of Graph 4 as a whole!! The radioactives Isotopes are marked DAE/BARC claim that this “spectrum” shows the Manganese 54 (Mn54) isotope and sodium 22 (Na22) isotope which are those produced by the H-bomb neutrons. However, the corresponding Gamma Ray lines from Shaft 2 in which the A-bomb was detonated is not shown! Why? Did the Gamma Ray Lines of Mn54 in that spectrum, give a very different picture? The answer to that key question is crucial to sustain the DAE/BARC arguments and contentions. Or is DAE/BARC again hiding something crucial here, as they have done earlier? If not, why is this information not being made public?! What appears in that spectrum is a very important piece of information—but it is denied to the reader! Why?

This detailed analysis apart, Ramachandran’s article states (see second para, column two, page 24): “Graph 4 shows gamma radiation peaks due to fission and neutron activation products, which are much higher in the case of the TN sample than in the case of pure fission samples.” How can Ramachandran so conclude when there are no numbers even of ‘Counts’ on vertical ‘Y’ axis of Graph 4 and it also does not indicate which half of Graph 4—top or bottom—shows fission test gamma counts and which fusion ones!! Why would the latter do that? See later.

How does all this happen? Simple, Graphs 4 and 1 have nothing to do with any aspect of the Pokhran-II tests at all, let alone of the H-bomb device. They have been lifted from totally different sources, contexts and places, if not totally fabricated! How does one come to this appalling conclusion? Because: (a) there are no numbers on the ‘Y’ axis of both Graphs; (b) all the other Graphs in Ramachandran’s article have specific numbers on vertical ‘Y’ axis as also site, date and technical specificities. Graphs 4 and 1 are the Only ones that do not! Finally, as highlighted at the beginning of this article, Graph 4 is titled “Gamma-ray spectrum of a typical sample thermonuclear test”. It does not say it is of the H-bomb test of Pokhran-II detonated on May 11, 1998, as ALL the other Graphs do!! The reader can come to his own conclusions!!

P.K. Iyengar is a former Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission; Director, BARC; Deputy to Ramanna in the Pokhran-I (P-I) test of May 18, 1974 and an internationally renowned nuclear weapons expert. Ashok Parthasarathi is a former S&T Adviser to late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and one who was deeply involved in P-I. K. Santhanam is a former Chief Adviser (Technologies) and Special Secretary, Defence R&D Organisation; and Programme Director, Pokhran-II of 1998.

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