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Archive Monday, 1 June, 1998, 15:22 GMT 16:22 UK
India's nuclear blast bigger than Hiroshima
protestors with banner 'remember hiroshima' in new delhi
Unlike these protestors, most Indians support their country's nuclear programme
India's top atomic scientists have been giving details of the five nuclear tests carried out last Monday and Wednesday that stunned the rest of the world and led to sweeping condemnation and economic sanctions.

The scientists, who are being hailed as national heroes, told a press conference that the devices tested last week included one with an explosive yield of 43 kilotonnes - more than twice the force inflicted on Hiroshima in 1945.

The leader of the atomic weapons programme, Dr Abdul Kalam, said India was working to improve the missile known as "Agni", or "Fire", which can carry nuclear warheads.

He said those with a range of 1,500 kilometres could already be mass-produced, while another missile was under construction with a range of 2,500 kilometres.

BBC correspondents say the current range is capable of reaching China's two biggest cities, Beijing and Shanghai.

What were the devices?

The Chairman of India's Atomic Energy Commission, Dr R Chidambaram, said the devices tested by India last Monday were a thermo nuclear device with an explosive yield equivalent to 43 kilotons of conventional explosive, a more conventional nuclear fission device at 12 kilotons and three small devices, yielding force of less than a single kiloton.

Dr Chadambaram denied international speculation that what India called a thermal nuclear device, akin to the hydrogen bomb, was in fact a boosted fission device - which is less technologically complex.

The scientists repeated yet again that there had been no leak of radioactivity from the tests, and that India's nuclear technology had all been produced domestically.

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The newly-released pictures of the Indian nuclear tests ("42)
See also:

31 May 98 | india nuclear testing
31 May 98 | india nuclear testing
17 May 98 | india nuclear testing
17 May 98 | india nuclear testing
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