ibnlive » India

Sep 01, 2009 at 07:47pm IST

Ex-AEC chief slams Kalam over Pokhran claims

New Delhi: Former Atomic Energy Commission chief Homi Nusserwanji Sethna has slammed APJ Abdul Kalam saying the former president was no qualified authority to criticise former Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) scientist K Santhanam's claims that the 1998 Pokhran II test was a fizzle.

"What did he (Kalam) know about extracting, making explosive grade? He didn't know a thing. By being a president he appeared to wear the stature. He relied on atomic energy to gain additional stature," said Sethna about Kalam.

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Sethna, who was the guiding force behind the first peaceful nuclear explosion in India in May 1974, also advised politicians to not interfere in scientific matters.

"I don't like politicians to interfere specially lay politicians to interfere any more. I firmly believe that they should stay out. When we did the test... the first test there was no politician. It was a raw one. We were lucky that the whole thing collapsed," he said.

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Kalam had on August 27 claimed that Pokhran II nuclear tests were a success rubbishing Santhanam's claim that tests were not successful.

Kalam, who mentored India's nuclear programme, said the only thermonuclear device (hydrogen bomb) tested in 1998 produced the "desired yield".

Earlier, Santhanam, who coordinated the Pokhran II tests, had claimed that the only thermonuclear device tested was a "fizzle".

Santhanam told CNN-IBN his comment on the thermo-nuclear device meant that its "yield was lower than what was claimed and indicated a need to refine the designs in order that we have assured performance."