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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

India's indigenous Nuclear Technology & International sanctions

"I found that whereas sanctions slowed progress in nuclear energy, they made India self-sufficient and world leaders in fast reactor technologies. While much of the world’s approach to India has been to limit its access to nuclear technology, it may well be that today we limit ourselves by not having access to India’s nuclear technology developments. Such technical views should help to advice the diplomatic efforts with India."
This quote acknowledging the advancements made by India, in its indigenous programmes to develop technologies for harnessing Nuclear Energy for civilian needs, has been attributed to Dr. Siegfried S. Hecker, PhD. He was the Director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the U.S. He made this observation  while testifying before an U.S. Senate Committee in 20081.

I came across this quote while going through the presentation slides used by Dr. Anil Kakodar, then Chairman of India's Atomic Energy Commission, while delivering a lecture at the Indian Academy of Science. Titled, 'Evolving Indian Nuclear Programme: Rationale and Perspectives', it puts in context development & adoption of Nuclear energy by India, including its Fast Breeder Reactor programme, against the backdrop of India's burgeoning energy requirement.
Especially interesting is the projection made in the following slide. As seen, it estimates that if India were to begin setting up Light Water Reactors [LWR] capable of generating up to 40 GWe of electricity by the end of this decade, its spent fuel could then be reprocessed & reused for energy generation in the indigenously developed Fast Breeder Reactors [FBR].
If done within the timeframe stated, then by 2050, India would have a miniscule amount of energy deficit. What little remains could then, perhaps, be fulfilled using alternate sources of energy. Polluting Hydrocarbon consumption, while showing marginal increase [expected when one factors in increasing population], would mostly be restricted to use in transport vehicles [slide 5]. However, any delays in implementing the construction, would widen the 2050 deficit, forcing India to additionally import coal to meet its energy requirements, that would further exacerbate the environmental situation.
On the other hand, a hypothetical scenario, that sees India totally shunning import of such Nuclear Reactors [LWR], as are the kinds India seeks to import & install, & whose setting up activists are opposing, would raise India's coal import requirement to an unsustainable level [below].
India's successes in developing the necessary Nuclear Technology for the civilian domain despite, or rather due to, the International sanctions, in place since 1974, can be credited in great parts to the visionary endeavours of Dr. Homi J. Bhabha. It, perhaps, helped that he enjoyed the confidence of & unrestricted access to then Indian Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, in the early years of the programme. Making full use of the free hand given to him by the Prime minister, he went about putting in place an organisational infrastructure in the country that could competently carry out the necessary work & effort needed to realise India's goals of ensuring energy security through self-sufficiency. Towards this goals, it was he who put forth the idea of circumventing India's scarcity of Uranium [fissile or even non-fissile isotopes], by breeding it from Thorium, abundantly available in the country. Thus, India today is one of the leading countries working towards the development of a sustainable & economical nuclear Reactor running on the Thorium cycle.
1 - Dr. Hecker was in the news last year for reporting about his visit to North Korea where he discovered that the North Koreans had built a new & advanced Uranium enrichment facility at its Yongbyon Nuclear Complex - North Korea's Yongbyon Nuclear Complex: A Report by Siegfried S. Hecker
Related: Understanding Nuclear Energy and Technology [suggested weekend reading]

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

INS Vikramaditya, Indian Navy Aircraft Carrier in Russia [Photographs]


This photograph, seen above, is part of a recently released set of pictures of the Aircraft Carrier, shot sometime back, showing the Vikramaditya in an earlier state of refurbishment at its Shipyard in Severodvinsk, Russia.

You can view the remaining photographs here.


Also: INS Vikramaditya - India's Aircraft Carrier [new photographs]

Indian Air Force An-32 Aircraft in Ukraine [Photograph]

Indian Air Force [IAF] An-32 aircraft in Ukraine


An An-32 transport aircraft operated by the Indian Air Force [IAF] sits on the snow-covered tarmac in Ukraine. The entire fleet of IAF's An-32 aircrafts are to undergo an upgrade & modernisation program. Of the 105 aircrafts it flies, 40 would be upgraded in Ukraine, while work on the remaining would be done in India.

Some more pictures of the IAF birds in Ukraine can be viewed here & here


Also: Indian Air Force [IAF] photographs - men & machine [random pictures]

a modest proposal from the Soviets...duly rejected by Indian Babudom

Monday, February 27, 2012

Quick & convenient way to search any frequently looked-up website [How-To]

Each time, before uploading a new post on this blog, I usually add a URL or two of an earlier post I'd made, that could be relevant to the latest one about to be made. I find looking up a suitable post for this quite inconvenient. I could have to login to the Blogger account & look up a post, based on tags added. Too many steps involved. Google comes in handy. Using the site: search operator & my blog's domain name, I can ensure relevant result being made available to me from my blog. However, having to do it often, & it becomes quite a chore.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Manned Spaceflight missions - major tragedies & mishaps [Infograhpic]

Will end the week on a somewhat sobering note. It is an experience filled with sheer exhilaration to watch a Space Shuttle or a Rocket lift-off from the ground, carrying, on-board, humans, or satellite/scientific payload[s], travelling to the furthest reaches as enabled by technologies developed. The process that makes this possible epitomises the ultimate in Engineering & scale, a culmination of multi-billions of man-hours or perhaps, even larger, of effort & endeavour. However, as with anything ground-breaking & revolutionary, such pursuits are also extremely fraught with risks, often mortal.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Air Forces of the world - numerical strengths & variety in assets [Free Download]

Ok, you are not that much into these things to warrant a purchase of Janes, yet your interest can be described as much more than passing. You require as a ready reckoner. a comprehensive list that tabulates the numerical strengths of Air Forces of the world & the different varieties of flying assets in their possession - aircrafts & helicopters. Flight magazine has come out with just this kind of a report relevant to the year 2011-2012.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

America’s Airborne Laser Weapon programme - Gigantic Indian connection [Trivia]

Airborne Laser Test Bed Nose Turret Ball from which the laser emerges to strike the target

Okay, the connection one could immediately be inclined to make, would be to imagine people with Indic names working in position of authority in the programme. While that might also be quite likely the case, this American military programme has yet another Indian connection.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Indian Air Force flies into US & UK in their Sukhoi Su-30 MKI fighters [Wallpaper-material Hi-Res]

Sukhoi Su-30MKI Fighter Aircraft flown by the Indian Air Force at the Red Flag Exercises in the U.S & Indradhanush Exercise with U.K.
With upwards of/around $2 billion USD spent by the U.S., each year, on building up 'Public Relations/Outreach', any international engagement with a branch of the U.S Military is, therefore, bound to generate a large amount of publically distributed content. As is widely known by now, the Indian Air Force [IAF], in 2008, for the first time, flew in to the Unites States of America to participate in the multi-national Red Flag Air Exercises held there. The IAF arrived in the U.S, flying in their Sukhoi Su-30MKI air dominance fighter aircrafts for this exercise2.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Sukhoi Su-30 MK-1/K aircraft variants flown by the Indian Air Force [photographs]

Sukhoi Su-30 MK-1 / K, earlier flown by the Indian Air Force [IAF]

The Government of India, in the mid-90s, signed an agreement with the Russians to acquire 40 aircrafts of the Flanker series, that would be customized to Indian requirement. It involved integrating French, Israeli & Indian weapon systems & avionics onto the Russian airframe. The eventual outcome of this customization is identified as the Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter aircraft. However, since the agreement essentially stipulated virtually developing a new aircraft, with capabilities unmatched by legacy offerings, the time taken for their deliveries to commence too would be large. Hence, in order to fast-track aircraft induction, as an interim measure, it was agreed that Russia would supply India with a baseline MK-series of the Su-30, i.e., Sukhoi Su-30MK.

Monday, February 20, 2012

a 50 kiloton Nuclear Weapon explodes in Pakistan, over Rawalpindi [What-if?]

earlier today: NUKEMAP: Detonate a Nuclear Weapon over any city....or over your own!

Visualising a hypothetical scenario where a 50 kt Nuclear weapon explodes over Pakistan's garrison town, Rawalpindi

The following write-up had been posted by Dr. Shiv Shankar Sastry on the Bharat Rakshak forum. An avid admirer of his posts, it offers anyone reading them a great learning opportunity, with a unique & well thought-out insight on various matters that I find, is sorely lacking in what appears in the MSM. Here, he lays out a scenario where a Nuclear weapon explodes in the garrison city of Rawalpindi in Pakistan & some of the major fall-outs of this explosion.

NUKEMAP: Detonate a Nuclear Weapon over any city....or over your own!

Okay, not literally, of course [you, you genocidal maniac!!!:)].

The after-effects of an attack with Nuclear weapons can be horrendous, and that is an understatement. Yet, often the magnitude & extent of destruction caused by them tend to get lost in attempts to describe them verbally. It is quite difficult to get a proportional sense of how destructive, both in terms of the damage & the expanse of the damage, a Nuclear weapon can be, more so if you're unable to apply this perception to your own city.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

American Sixth Generation Fighter Aircraft. Manned?! quite likely

Degree of autonomy of Unmanned Aerial Vehicle [UAV]

Till around a few years back, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Lightning II was widely being touted as the last manned fighter aircraft America would develop. Subsequent developments would solely focus on unmanned aerial vehicles capable of performing the same role. Thus, going through todays stack of news, I was somewhat taken by surprise by this quote attributed to George Standridge, Vice-President, Lockheed Martin Aeronautic, Business Development, on the sidelines of the ongoing Singapore Airshow,

Il-76 Aircraft: Indian Air Force - cockpit & crew station [Photographs]

Soviet designed Ilyushin Il-76 aircrafts are the heaviest lift class of aircrafts operated by the Indian Air force [IAF]. Capable of lifting around 50 tonnes, excluding its empty weight, these aircrafts were inducted into the IAF fleet in 1985. The IAF currently operates around 14 of these [Il-76MD]1. In addition, it also operates 7 mid-air re-fuelling tanker variants of this aircraft [Il-78MKI], along with 2 Israeli Phalcon Radar mounted on top of an-76 each to create an AWACS. Another such AWAC system is expected to be inducted soon. These are some hi-re images showing the cockpit & an aircrew station view of the aircraft. The pictures were taken when a contingent of the Indian Air Force visited the U.S.A in 2008 to take part in their multi-national Red Flag exercises, held every three-four months.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Space Station: since the ages & in the future

This illustration landed in the inbox yesterday. As evident, it shows some prominent designs for Space Stations that have emerged in the past. Of these, 4 designs were actually built & launched into Space & have been inhabited by humans. The others were either designs that did not get approved due to varied reasons, or were simply outcomes of creative artistic pursuits.

Prominent designs of Space Stations

Currently, only the International Space Station [ISS] still orbits the earth, and can be visited & lived in. It is expected to remain in operation till around the second half of this decade [2016-2020]. Some successor plans for a Space Station in the western world, include,

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Check if your mobile number is affected by 2G license cancellation verdict [How-To]

Came across this very handy web-app that owes its inspiration to the ongoing 2G Scam case. The Supreme Court recently cancelled licenses, to provide 2G services, of a host of mobile service providers operating in India, deciding fraudulent means had been used in acquiring them. Thus, mobile numbers that the service providers had allotted to consumers on acquisition of license are likely to become inoperable.

Check if your mobile number is affected by 2G license cancellation verdict


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

India moves resolution supporting People's Republic of China's admission into the United Nations [U.N.]

At the fifth session of the United Nations General Assembly held at Flushing Meadows in 1950, India introduced a resolution supporting entry of the Communist-ruled People's Republic of China [P.R.C] into the United Nations. This rare video clip, below, shows India's then permanent representative to the United Nations [U.N], Mr. B.N. Rau1 reading out the text in support of P.R.C.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Nuclear Energy & Technology: many myths, some debunking

Over the past year or so, living in India, one has been reading & watching a steady stream of news reports of protests being undertaken against the use of Nuclear Energy for generating electricity. The actual construction process, itself, has not yet commenced in any of these areas & is sometime away, even going by official schedule. In general, only the necessary surveys have been carried out & the site evaluated to judge its suitability for construction & operation of the Nuclear power plant. Thus, a significant portion of the protest could be attributed to the consternation experienced by local inhabitants at the initial stages of any major project that involves substantial land reclamation. These things are eventually, inevitably, sorted out to the mutual agreement of all concerned, employing a concurrent approach involving raising awareness, negotiations & a degree of coercion too, if needed.

Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant, Tamil Nadu, India

A significant exception to this situation is the Kudankulam Nuclear power plant, set up in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. One of the most advanced plant designs in the world, it employs the most contemporary safety systems, including a passive heat removal system that requires no power source at all to operate. The plant is also equipped with multiple levels of redundancies that would be set into motion, in the event of any divergence in designed operation. Construction work at the site had neared completion. In fact, by now, it should have begun operation, generating & supplying electricity to the state, that runs a power deficit of up to 5000 MWe & is being forced to endure daily load-shedding of up to more than one-third the day [9 hours]. However, the protests, that has seen the Church play an active role in marshaling the protestors, has brought all activities at the plant site to a complete standstill. Critical equipment that require specialized maintenance & monitoring1, aren't being adequately taken care of, running the risk of irreversibly damage2.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

T-50 PAK-FA Fifth Generation Fighter in Ace Combat: Assault Horizon [UPDATE: 2012.02.17]

[Update: 2012.03.17] Added a video of the aircraft in the game sporting the new skins

Multi-platform video game series Ace Combat, Assault Horizon version, has received a new update. It includes new decals that can be applied as skins on the numerous aircrafts, newer aircraft types, among others. These skins have been provided for applying over the T-50 PAK-FA, Fight Generation Fighter Aircraft [FGFA] in the game.

Thursday, February 09, 2012


Commandos of the Indian Navy, the MARCOS, lifted off the water as they go charging ahead onboard their rigid-hulled inflatable boat.

Commandos of the Indian Navy, the MARCOS, lifted off the water, charging ahead aboard their rigid-hull inflatable boat.



Monday, February 06, 2012

Know your Rafale: India's latest Fighter Aircraft acquisition [MMRCA winner, most likely] - UPDATE [2012.02.07]

French Dassault Fighter Aircraft visualised in Indian Air Force [IAF] paint scheme

Two years back, this is what I had jotted down here about the choice of aircraft that must be selected in India's long-running soap opera, also known as the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft [MMRCA] acquisition program,

INS Vikramaditya - India's Aircraft Carrier [new photographs]

Some new photos have 'emerged' showing India's latest Aircraft Carrier, the INS Vikramaditya, being rebuilt from the Soviet-era Aircraft Carrying Cruiser ship, the Admiral Gorshkov. Looks quite dramatic, seen against the pristine white snow-clad background with steam billowing from the sides.


Do check the remaining pictures at the photographer's blog, who visited the Sevmash Shipyard in Russia recently, where the Carrier is being re-built. India is expected to receive custody of the Carrier by the end of this year [December 2012]. Fingers crossed, twiddling thumbs.


Earlier: India's Aircraft Carrier INS Vikramaditya (Admiral Gorshkov) [Weekend viewing]

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Read articles behind pay-wall / login without paying [How-To]

Here is a quickie tip that I often have to use. Many a websites place their articles behind a paywall, or require users to login, before he or she can read the article. Expensive & cumbersome, respectively. As it turns out, on many a occasion, Google comes to the rescue.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Indian Navy MiG-29KUB fighter takes off Russian Aircraft Carrier Kuznetsov [Pictures; Wallpaper-type]

These hi-res pictures, from some time back, show the Indian Navy's twin-seater variant of its newly inducted MiG-29K fighter aircraft, the MiG-29KUB, taking off for flight testing from aboard Russia's operational Aircraft Carrier, the Kuznetsov. Had earlier seen much smaller & watermarked versions of these on Strizhi. These are hi-res & clean. Turned them into my wallpaper. Sharing my exhilaration!

Thursday, February 02, 2012

India's petaFLOPS speed Supercomputer for Science & Technology research [Petascale Computing]

"It is, however, to be noted that CSIR reserves the right to decide on the use of these systems for whatever purpose deemed fit by the organization to serve the interests of the nation."

Making this fact amply clear, plans have been set in motion to develop a new Supercomputer which would have a speed upwards of 10 petaFLOPS1 for use in India. The current2 fastest Supercomputer in the world, Japan's K Computer clocks speeds of 10.5 petaFLOPS, while the fastest Indian Supercomputer today tops out at 0.1328 petaFLOPS or 0.220 petaFLOPS5, if purely theoretical peak, unbenchmarked speeds are considered. On completion, it may even become amongst the fastest Supercomputer in India at that time.