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Encyclopedia > Operation Smiling Buddha

The so-called Smiling Buddha was the first test fission explosion by India on May 18, 1974.

On September 7, 1972, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi gave authorization to the scientists at the Bhabha Atomic Research Center (BARC) to manufacture the nuclear device they had designed and prepare it for a test. Throughout its development, the device was formally called the "Peaceful Nuclear Explosive," but it was usually referred to as the Smiling Buddha.

The head of the development team was Raja Ramanna. Other key members were P.K. Iyengar, Rajagopala Chidambaram, and Dr. Nagapattinam Sambasiva Venkatesan. The project employed no more than 75 scientists and engineers from 1967 - 1974.

The device used a high explosive implosion system developed at the DRDO Terminal Ballistics Research Laboratory (TBRL) in Chandigarh based on the American design from WWII. But the Indian design was simpler and less sophisticated than the American system. The 6 kg of Plutonium came from the CIRUS reactor at BARC. The neutron initiator was a Polonium-Beryllium type (again like those used in early U.S. bombs) code-named "Flower." The complete core was assembled in Trombay before transportation to the test site.

The fully assembled device was hexagonal, 1.25 m in diameter and weighed 1400 kg. The device was detonated at 8.05 a.m. in a shaft 107 m under the army Pokhran test range in the Thar Desert, Rajasthan. Officially the yield was reported at 20 KT, but 8 KT is more likely.

In 1975, Homi Sethna (chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission),Raja Ramanna and Nag Chaudhuri (head of the DRDO) received the Padma Vibhushan - India's second highest civilian award. Five other project members received the fourth highest award, the Padma Shri.

The CIRUS reactor used to produce the plutonium was a research reactor based on the CANDU design and donated by Canada in 1960. The Smiling Buddha test caused a public outcry in Canada, and the Canadian government more or less cut off exchange of nuclear materials and technology with India in the wake of the test.

India did not carry out any more nuclear tests until Operation Shakti in 1998.

See also

  Results from FactBites:
Operation Shakti - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (263 words)
Operation Shakti refers to the second round of nuclear tests conducted by India on May 11 and May 13, 1998.
It was popularly referred to as "The Buddha smiles again." In contrast with their first test, Operation Smiling Buddha, this series of tests were of purportedly militarized nuclear devices, including one which was claimed to be a hydrogen bomb (though many non-Indian experts find this claim unlikely).
In fact, after Operation Smiling Buddha, Canada ceased exporting nuclear materials and technology to India; the two licensed CANDU reactors in India began operation in 1972, before India had conducted any nuclear tests.
Buddha Buddhism Religion: On Nirvana (Truth) Karma (Interconnection) Metaphysics Philosophy of Buddhism Religion (12467 words)
Buddha was very close to understanding Reality as he knew that Matter was both Impermanent and Interconnected; The world is continuous flux and is impermanent (Buddha) and as Fritjof Capra writes; The Eastern mystics see the universe as an inseparable web, whose interconnections are dynamic and not static (Capra).
The Buddha taught that ‘all compounded things are impermanent’, and that all suffering in the world arises from our trying to cling to fixed forms- objects, people or ideas- instead of accepting the world as it moves and changes.
Buddha taught, encouraged and stimulated each person to develop themselves and work out their own emancipation, for humans have the power to liberate themselves from all bondage through their own personal effort and intelligence.
  More results at FactBites »



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