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Form group to probe Pokhran claim: Nscientist

CNN-IBN
Sep 18, 2009 at 01:12pm IST

New Delhi: More controversy is surrounding the 1998 Pokhran nuclear tests. Top nuclear scientists in the country have demanded an inquiry to determine whether the tests were a failure.

The scientists also say that they are ashamed if the rumours surrounding the failure of tests were true and the government hid them from the masses.

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Three former nuclear leaders - M R Srinivasan, P K Iyengar and A N Prasad - said in the wake of revelations by project leader for Pokhran II, K Santhanam, that the government must order a peer review into the yield of the thermonuclear test of May 1998.

FIERY ISSUE: Santhanam says it's standard procedure in science to form a group to probe a claim.

Earlier Santhanam went public on August 26 this year, saying that the yield from the test was far lower than what prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee's government had claimed.

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He also disclosed embarrassing details saying the test was a failure because the yield was only 25 kilotons, nearly half of what the scientists had then claimed.

Santhanam says it's standard procedure in science to form a group of stalwarts to probe a claim of this kind, and that the probe must be based on scientific facts.

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"It is a standard procedure in science and engineering. If standard proceedings are contested then a group of stalwarts must be formed to look into relevant facts, to look into claims that dispute. The committee must be allowed to form its own rules. If there is classified information that is made available for anaylysis, then classification status must remain. A classified report should be given to the government and an unclassified one to media," he said.

"The image must be rooted in scientific facts. The creation of myth surrounding events or persons must be avoided in pursuit of scientific truth," he added.

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