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Joint Statement by Department of Atomic Energy and Defence Research and Development Organisation

The current series of testing 5 nuclear devices during May 11-13, 1998 in the Pokhran Range is the culmination of years of pioneering work done by the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO).

DAE has done pioneering R & D work in various aspects of nuclear science and technology. It has developed comprehensive indigenous capabilities in designing and building nuclear power reactors, fuel reprocessing plants and many other fuel-cycle related activities. DAE has also developed and built research reactors and strongly promoted the peaceful uses of atomic energy in industry and agriculture. The Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) is one of the largest multi-disciplinary laboratories in the country with the capability to build new technological systems in a wide range of areas. The fissile material used in these 5 tests are completely indigenous, and have been produced by local mastery over the relevant technologies by DAE establishments.

DRDO is one of the largest agencies in the country which is engaged in research and development of advanced weapons and systems for the Armed Forces. DRDO is also at the forefront in a spectrum of advanced defence technologies.

It has a large number of mission-oriented programmes involving design, development and proving of defence systems along with Transfer of Technology to Production Agencies. DRDO's experience and expertise in explosives and explosives-related technologies and in systems engineering and integration constitute an important part in the 5 devices tested in the present campaign.

The design and development of various kinds of nuclear explosives, eg fission, boosted fission, thermonuclear and low yield, has been carried out by BARC based on more than 25 years of R & D. BARC has also worked out several new concepts like long shelf life of device components and optimisation of the yield-to-weight ratio. Further, the fabrication of fissile materials to suitable shapes was also performed by BARC. The PNE experiment of May 1974 was an early and successful demonstration of India's capability in nuclear devices.

One of the laboratories of the DRDO had the task of 'weaponising' proven designs. This activity involved design, testing and production of advanced detonators, ruggedised high volt trigger systems, interface engineering, systems engineering and systems integration to military specifications. Three other laboratories have made contributions in aerodynamics, arming, fusing, safety interlocks, flight trials etc. DRDO has, further, conducted a series of trials and achieved the necessary operational clearances. Additionally, DRDO shouldered the burden of field engineering associated with the conduct of the 5 tests along with DAE.

DRDO and DAE have effectively and efficiently coordinated and integrated their respective technological strengths in a national mission to confer the country with a capability to vacate nuclear threats.

The 3 tests conducted on May 11, 1998 were with a fission device with a yield of about 12 kT, a thermonuclear device with a yield of about 43 kT and a sub-kilo tonne device. All the 3 devices were detonated simultaneously. It may be noted that the yield of the thermonuclear device tested on May 11 was designed to meet stringent criteria like containment of the explosion and least possible damage to building and structures in neighbouring villages.

On May 13, 1998 two more sub kilo-tonne nuclear tests were carried out. These devices were also detonated simultaneously. The yields of the sub-kilo tonne devices were in the range of 0.2 to 0.6 kT.

The tests conducted on May 11 as well as on May 13 were fully contained with no release of radioactivity into the atmosphere.

The measured yields of the devices agree with expected design values. A complex software package developed by DAE has been used in device design and yield estimation.

The tests conducted during May 11-13, 1998 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. These tests have significantly enhanced our capability in computer simulation of new designs and taken us to the stage of sub-critical experiments in the future, if considered necessary.

DAE and DRDO would like to place on record their thanks to the Indian Army and the Indian Air Force for excellent support to the campaign. They would also like to record their gratitude to the current Government, as well as those in the past, for reposing confidence in the ability of DAE and DRDO to meet nuclear threats.

May 17, 1998
New Delhi.