Sun, Aug

Remarkable Contribution of Gujranwala’s “Lohar” in Pakistan Nuclear Program


Pakistan's nuclear program was launched in 1972 under the chairmanship of Dr. Munir Ahmad Khan and Pakistani scientists first began research on Useful radioactive material to manufacture nuclear fuel-making machine named Gas centrifuge.

This machine works on the principle of Homogenizer, as Homogenize take the butter out from the milk. Gas Centrifuge pushes faster the radioactive material to the round cylinder which separates the active and non-active atoms. When the machine works fast the results will be better and better.

Luckily in 1975 A Pakistani Scientist G.A. Alam made "Gas Centrifuge" on his own, and succeeded in rotating it about 30,000 (thirty thousand) times per minute. He had never seen this machine, but just by studying some books, he successfully made this complex machine. The design of G.A. Alam was working perfectly but 30,000 rounds per minute were lower, and by that speed it might have taken decades to make nuclear fuel. He made some other changes to the machine to make it faster but when they tried to run it, the machine brooked.

All the High level Pakistani Scientists had a meeting to get a solution for this problem because at that speed it was impossible to achieve their goal in a targeted time. Several calculations were made but without success. Doctor Abdul Qadir Khan who himself was a very well-known Metallurgist (metals expert) was amazed too by breaking such a strong metal. And he called an emergency meeting of scientists. At that time the real problem was the ‘time’. India had nuclear explosion in 1974, and Pakistan was still facing problems in "Gas Centrifuge" machine despite the efforts. In the meeting of Pakistani mathematicians, metals expert and scientists they reviewed everything, calculation machine map, metal alloys, but the problem did not get solved.

One of the scientists suggested a very strange idea of getting help from a local Iron smith / blacksmith. He also gave the example of a sick person, when the patient does not receive medicine from the doctor then he does not hesitate to go to a Hakim, or astrological factor with a hope of getting satisfactory treatment. No wonder when INDIA is going to attack PAKISTAN with its nuclear weapons and we can’t be sitting ducks. One of the members said that he knows a blacksmith in Gujranwala who is specialist in metal working and that his eyes haven't seen more expert blacksmith in his entire life, he added.

After a short discussion and decisions they decided that Doctor A.Q.KHAN and some other senior Scientists will go to that blacksmith workshop but with extreme caution and privacy. The next day AQ Khan took few colleagues and went to Gujranwala. Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission's car stopped in front of an old workshop. Inside the workshop a fifty years old man was sitting on the furnace and was hammering pieces of metal. they all waited for the blacksmith to get his work done.

After some time When the blacksmith had finished building, the first question; Hello Sir! "Are you here to build drantyan??" Dr. Khan had introduced himself but he did not understand because he was not aware of the Atomic Energy Commission, and the nuclear program. The blacksmith replied tell me your problem how can I help you, as to what I understand you want to create a machine. Dr. Khan explained to him in simple words, we want to make a fan with light weight and fast rotating speed.

The blacksmith thought a little and said "get me to your workshop I have to see where and how you people are making fans, after that I can inform you about your problem with the fan." They took the Blacksmith to the Atomic Energy Commission on the same day. Blacksmith said to first of all show me fans that are already made. A sample was given to him. Blacksmith looked the sample carefully, and then run smack of hammers and heard a slight sound, he did smack several times and smiled a slightly and said, I know the problem.

All you have to do is CASTING in the casing of a fan as you always do. It was evening time and staff had to leave for their homes. But this interesting situation kept the crew at the workshop at this hour. The workshop also got crowded as new and old engineers gathered to witness the metal alloys being melted into the furnace and inserted into the casing in front of the blacksmith. The blacksmith was standing there and said, Sir actually the problem is that you're putting the metal in the casing too slow, when you pour the metal in to the template slowly it cools fastly and won’t stick with the incoming hot metal. And that's the reason your fans are being so weak.

AQ and all engineers were surprised to see how and expertly the blacksmith had identified the problem as well as its solution. That night the blacksmith was compensated reasonably and brought back to his home. The next day Flow Rate was calculated again and just like the blacksmith said they found errors in the calculations. And then Metal CASTING speed was determined. And then they ran the fan made of high-CASTING. The first several days those fans were rotated at 60,000 rounds per minute. Then the machine was tested in laboratory. Fans were in excellent shape and no evidence of any damage or breakage was found.

Dr. A.Q. Khan decided to accelerate the pace of the machine's fans according to its strength and the fans were rotated at 80 thousand times per minute. The result was successful, the fans were working gently. And that's how PAKISTAN'S first "Gas Centrifuge" was made and started production of Gas Centrifuge on a very large-scale. The machine was officially named as "PAKISTAN-1 Or P-1 but some of the staff members and still called it the BABA's machine. Experience of a skilled blacksmith saved them several months in preparation of the machine. In 1978, nuclear fuel manufacturing plant in Pakistan was completed and started work on a large scale. And soon "BABA machines" start spewing enriched uranium.