Kirana Hills

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The Kirana Hills is a small mountain range in Pakistan's Punjab province. It spans approximately 40 miles across the districts of Sargodha and Jhang.

An aerial view of the Kirana Hills.

Topography[edit]

The highest peak in the Kirana Hills is Koh-e-Kirana, which is about 980 feet high. The region is also known as "Black Mountains" by locals because of the dark brown colours of the range. The Kirana Hills and its environs are heavily infested with wild boar.[citation needed]

Science in Kirana[edit]

Kirana-I
Kirana Range Near Rabwah.jpg
A rocky blackish mountain of Kirana Range in the outskirts of Rabwah.
Information
Country Pakistan
Test site Kirana Weapon-testing laboratories
Period 1983-1990
Number of tests 24
Test type Underground
subcritical tests (k<1)
Device type Non-fission
Max. yield N/A; Classified
Navigation
Previous test None
Next test Chagai-I

Kirana-I were the series of 24 cold-tests conducted by Pakistan from 1983 till 1990. The tests were primarily conducted by Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission for the purposes of studying effects of nuclear detonation, with armed forces' playing a supporting role. The weapon-testing programme was kept in extreme secrecy with only few in the government knowing about it. The tests proved the capability of Pakistan to have successfully developed the atomic bomb project and to perform the tests without outside interference.

Organizations[edit]

The development, designing and construction of the weapon-testing laboratories at this region was initiated by Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission's Munir Ahmad Khan, as its technical director, and Brig. Muhammad Sarfaraz of the Pakistan's Army's Special Development Works Organization.[1] Several meetings between civilian Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission officials and military officials of Corps of Engineers took place before starting the work. Finally having started in 1979, the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) and the Corps of Engineers completed the construction of the weapon-testing laboratories in 1983, and it was named as Kirana Weapon-testing laboratories (Kirana-WTL). The tunnels and weapon-testing laboratories were reported as have been bored after the Chagai weapon-testing labs and as similar to Chagai, the underground tunnels and weapons-testing laboratories at Kirana Hills had been bored and then sealed and this task was also undertaken by SDW.

The "Special Development Works", codename SDW, was a specially commissioned military unit of renowned Pakistan's military scientists and engineers founded by Brigadier Muhammad Sarfaraz in 1977. The SDW was responsible for the construction of the weapon-test sites and the military scientists of the SDW had closely their logistics support to PAEC in the developmental phases of the atomic bomb project. The SDW had small number of engineer officers, but extremely capable of achieving tasks and put under joint-task force's command.

Kirana Hills on Sargodha Fasisalabad Highway.

Preparations[edit]

The weapon-testing laboratories were carefully established and built by the military engineering formations. The military had long realized that United States' growing suspicion on secret military projects, therefore, the labs were constructed and built at night and quickly paced up the work before the sunrise. This was done to avoid the American satellites to pick up the advancement and to avoid alerting the civil population inhabitant in the area. The weapon-testing labs were heavily guarded by the joint task forces and the tourism activities in the designated areas were closed for the public.

The PAEC had been monitoring the establishment of the weapon-testing labs and dispatched a small team of scientists from the Radiation Physics Division (RPD), assisted by the joint task force teams. The teams were sent to de-seal, open and clean the tunnels and to make sure the tunnels were clear of the wild boars that are found in abundance in the Sargodha region. The damage which these wild boars could do to men and equipment, computer facilities, and laboratories.

Tests predictions[edit]

After the preparations were done and tunnels were cleared out, the RPD along with their Military units joined the PAEC's Diagnostic Team, under dr. Samar Mubarakmand who arrived on the scene with trailers fitted with supercomputers and diagnostic equipment installed in the vans.[2] They were followed by Wah Group Scientists under dr. Zaman Shaikh and DTD under Hafeez Qureshi, with the nuclear device in sub assembly form. The device was placed in the weapon-testing laboratory-I (WTL-I).[2] monitoring system was set up with around 20 cables linking various parts of the device with oscillators in diagnostic vans parked near the Kirana Hills.[2]

The device was tested using the push-button technique set in vintage style. The first test was to see whether the triggering mechanism created the necessary neutrons which would start a fission chain-reaction in the actual device.[2] However, when the button was pushed, most of the wires connecting the device to the oscillators were severed due to errors committed in the preparation of the cables.[2] At first, it was thought that the device had malfunctioned but closer scrutiny of two of the oscillators confirmed that the neutrons had indeed come out and a chain-reaction had taken place.[2]

Test teams and development[edit]

The series of 24 different cold tests were conducted by the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission chaired by Munir Ahmad Khan.[2] This secret weapon-testings operation was coined Kirana-I by nuclear physicist dr. Ishfaq Ahmad who was the laboratories director and technical member at the PAEC. Other PAEC's test development personnel and teams included Hafeez Qureshi— director of the Directorate of Technical Development; Dr. Zaman Sheikh, director of the Wah Group Scientists (WGS); Dr. Naeem Ahmad Khan— director of Radiation and Isotope Applications Division (RIAD); Dr. Masud Ahmad— director of Theoretical Physics Group (TPG); and Dr. Samar Mubarakmand, director of the Diagnostic Group (Diag Grp).

The tunnels at Kirana Hills, Sargodha, are reported to have been bored after the Chagai nuclear test sites, it is widely believed that the tunnels were constructed sometime between 1979 and 1983. As in Chagai, the tunnels at Kirana Hills had been bored and then sealed and this task was also undertaken by PAEC's DTD.[2]

As a result, between 1983 and 1990, the PAEC's Wah Group and DTD conducted more than 24 cold tests of the nuclear device at Kirana Hills with the help of mobile diagnostic equipment. These tests were carried out in 24 tunnels measuring 100–150 feet in length which were bored inside the Kirana.[citation needed]

The explosive HMX (His Majesty’s Explosive), which was used to trigger the device. The HMX nuclear device was tested by DTD led by Hafeez Qureshi. The successful cold fission test was led and supervised by renowned physicist Dr. Ishfaq Ahmad, and it was witnessed by PAEC chairman Munir Ahmad Khan, General Khalid Mahmud Arif, and then-Chairman of Senate of Pakistan, Ghulam Ishaq Khan.[3]

Results and aftermath[edit]

The need to improve and perfect the design of first nuclear device required constant testing. As a result, between 1983 and 1990, the Wah Group Scientists conducted more than 24 cold tests of the nuclear device at Kirana Hills with the help of mobile diagnostic equipment. These tests were carried out in 24 horizontal-shaft designated weapon-testing laboratories measuring 100–150 feet in length which were bored inside the Kirana Hills. Later due to excessive US intelligence and satellite focus on the Kirana Hills regions, it was abandoned and the WTL-I was shifted to the Kala Chitta Range.

Development and the test teams[edit]

Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission[edit]

Special Works Development[edit]

Government Observants[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Analysis: Custodians as proliferators". Observer Research Foundation. Observer Research Foundation. 13 August 2004. Retrieved 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Koh Kambaran (Ras Koh Hills)". Pakistan Encyclopedia. Pakistan Information and History Encyclopedia. 
  3. ^ name="The Nation 2009">"Pakistan Became a Nuclear State in 1983-Dr. Samar", The Nation,(Islamabad) May 2, 2003 accessed on August 6, 2009

Coordinates: 31°57′N 72°42′E / 31.950°N 72.700°E / 31.950; 72.700