Military Review

Stalin's jet engine


11 February 1943 was signed a decree on the creation of the Soviet atomic bomb. The documents were encrypted bomb under the abbreviation RDS-1

There are two main stages of the USSR atomic project: the first - preparatory (September 1942 of the year - July 1945 of the year), the second - decisive (August 1945 of the year - August 1949 of the year).

Stalin's jet engineThe first stage begins with the order GKO N 2352 from 28 September 1942, "On the organization of work on uranium." It provided for the resumption of war-interrupted research and use of atomic energy. 11 February 1943, Stalin signed a decree on the organization of work on the creation of the atomic bomb under the leadership of Molotov. Lavrentiy Beria was appointed his deputy, and Igor Kurchatov became the project supervisor in March. In 1943, a research center on the uranium problem was created - Laboratory N 2 of the USSR Academy of Sciences, now the Russian Research Center "Kurchatov Institute".

The beginning of the second stage was put on the American bombing of the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki 6 and 9 in August 1945. By this time, scientists were convinced of Molotov’s inability to lead the atomic project. Kurchatov and Ioffe asked the leader to appoint Beria as the work manager. The proposal was accepted: a special committee was soon organized on problem N 1, chaired by Beria. By that time, he was no longer the head of the NKVD: in December, 1945, given his busyness in an extremely important uranium project, he was dismissed from this post. The main task of the special committee was to create an atomic bomb in the shortest possible time, its decisions became mandatory for all ministries and departments.

Leading the uranium project, Beria took his subordinates (under his leadership more than 300 thousand people turned out) under protection "from possible intrigues of the NKVD organs or party instances": he knew that people were stimulated by confidence in high patronage and their own well-being, and he gave them confidence. For example, none of the Kurchatov employees during the work on the project was included in the lists of "enemies of the people", although Igor Vasilievich himself, by conversations, almost "ran" into big trouble.

Project funding was virtually unlimited. Leading scientists and engineers have created almost ideal conditions for work and in everyday life. Rumors circulated around the country that "trial communism" was built in "atomic" cities. Unprecedented order and organization reigned in the laboratories: when some scholars “from outside” returned to their homes, they could not get used to the academic “mess”, which was unthinkable in Beria’s department.

In 1946, the Soviet atomic project moved to the industrial stage, during which enterprises and plants for the production of nuclear fissionable material were created mainly in the Urals.

By January 1949, the whole complex of design questions on the RDS-1 was worked out (the first atomic bomb received this code name). In the Irtysh steppe, in 170 km from the city of Semipalatinsk, a test facility was built Test facility N 2 of the USSR Ministry of Defense. In May 1949, Kurchatov arrived at the test site; he led the trials. 21 August 1949, the main charge arrived at the landfill. At 4 o'clock in the morning 29 August the atomic bomb was raised to a test tower with a height of 37,5 m. At 7 o'clock in the morning the first Soviet atomic bomb loaded with plutonium-239 was detonated. The power of the explosion was approximately 18 kilotons - slightly more than the American bomb of a similar design. The second stage ended in 1951 with the testing of the second atomic bomb in the USSR. Its nuclear material was already uranium-235, the design is ours, the original one, and with a weight of half the bomb turned out to be one and a half times more powerful than the American "sister." It was a complete success ...
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  1. avdkrd
    avdkrd 7 August 2012 22: 32
    a serious mistake in the article - at first there was a uranium bomb, the second plutonium one. Even logically, the critical mass of plutonium is almost ten times less than critical uranium. (5 and 50 kg, respectively.
  2. Honory
    Honory 26 August 2012 15: 49
    It’s interesting if Beria led other military programs. Maybe then parity would have come not in the 70s, but at least in the 60s.