The Russian nuclear industry came into being as a result of the joint efforts by renowned scientists, engineers and other top-notch professionals. Thanks to their hard work, this complex of exceptional scale and daring, which encompasses dozens of research institutions and industrial facilities, was created. It remains an unprecedented example of effective strategic management of state resources in both Russian and world history. Celebrating the 75th anniversary of the nuclear industry, the TASS photo project dubbed “Ahead of Its Time” shines the spotlight on the milestones of taming nuclear power in our country.
THE FOUNDING FATHERS OF THE NUCLEAR INDUSTRY
Academician Zeldovich at work
An eminent physicist, Yakov Zeldovich was one of the leading developers of the Soviet Union’s atomic bomb project. In 1939-1941, together with Yulii Khariton, he provided the calculations for uranium fission reaction. Andrei Sakharov, the father of the Soviet H-bomb, described Zeldovich as “a man of universal interests”. According to Nobel Prize Winner Lev Landau, no other scientist, except for Fermi, was so prolific in new ideas as Zeldovich, and Kurchatov once said of him: “Regardless of everything, Yashka [short for Yakov] is a genius!”
Academician Ioffe in his lab
Head of the Laboratory of Semiconductors at the USSR Academy of Sciences Abram Ioffe in his research lab. One of the greatest organizers of the Soviet scientific research, Ioffe was the founder and director of the Leningrad Physical-Technical Institute (until 1950). He brought up a whole group of renowned Soviet physicists, who later became the founders of academic research institutions of their own. Among them were Noble Prize winners Anatoly Alexandrov, Abram Alikhanov, Lev Artsimovich, Igor Kurchatov, Yulii Khariton and many others.
Academician Keldysh delivers a speech at an international conference
Mstislav Keldysh giving a speech at the World Conference for General Disarmament and Peace on July 9, 1962. Mstislav Keldysh was President of the USSR Academy of Sciences and one of the founding fathers of the Soviet space program. Keldysh was picked to serve as chief mathematician at the Ministry of Medium Machine-Building. In addition, he contributed greatly to the USSR’s nuclear triad and thermonuclear weapon research.
Kurchatov, the world-renowned academician, at work
Igor Kurchatov at work. Being a truly outstanding organizer of scientific research, he served as the head of the Soviet atomic bomb project. In 1946, while working at what was then officially known as Laboratory № 2, he supervised the construction of the F-1 – the first research reactor in Europe and Asia. The first domestic nuclear bomb - the RDS-1 - and the first two-stage thermonuclear charge were also tested under his supervision in 1949 and 1954-1955, respectively. Nevertheless, Kurchatov always pursued peaceful goals and ideals. “I deeply believe and I know it for sure,” he used to say “that our people and our government will contribute these scientific endeavors to the good of humanity.” In 1954, Kurchatov inaugurated the launch of the world’s first nuclear power plant in Obninsk.
Landau’s stroll around the Russian capital
Nobel Prize Winner Lev Landau walking around Moscow on May 3, 1963. Academician Lev Landau is a legendary figure in the history of the Russian and global scientific community. Quantum mechanics, solid-state physics, magnetism, cryogenics, superconductivity and superfluidity, cosmic-ray physics, astrophysics, quantum field theory, nuclear physics and particle physics, chemical reaction physics, and plasma physics are just some of the areas, where Lev Landau left his historic contributions. It was said “there were no locked doors for him in the huge building of 20th-century physics.” In 1954, he was declared a Hero of Socialist Labor for his contribution to the Soviet nuclear project. This photo shows him recovering after a terrible car accident that he had endured in 1962. Doctors from all over the world took part in saving his life. They organized round-the-clock bedside vigils in the hospital. Hard-to-find medications were airlifted from Western Europe and the US.
Academician Sakharov at the Congress of People’s Deputies of the Soviet Union
Andrei Sakharov, a world-renowned Soviet scientist, Nobel laureate, Full Member of the USSR Academy of Sciences, pioneered the creation of thermonuclear weaponry. In this snapshot, he is pictured giving a speech as a deputy at the closing session of the First Congress of People's Deputies of the Soviet Union.
Academician Flyorov giving a lecture to the members of the Znanie (“Knowledge”) Society
This snapshot was taken on October 24, 1964. Georgy Flyorov, a renowned Soviet nuclear physicist, and then director of the Laboratory of Nuclear Reactions, and Corresponding Member of the USSR Academy of Sciences, is pictured here speaking about the prospects for transuranium element research and production in the Central Lecture Hall of the All-Union Znanie (Knowledge in Russian) Society. Flyorov was known for his pioneering work in spontaneous heavy nuclear fission. In particular, he participated in creating and testing the first Soviet nuclear bomb. Under his leadership, new transuranium elements with the atomic numbers 102-107 were synthesized and added to the periodic table of elements.
Academician Yulii Khariton
This photo was taken on December 17, 1975. Yulii Khariton was among the USSR’s top scientists who had worked on the Soviet Union’s nuclear weapons program. He was the first to lay down safety requirements for handling nuclear weaponry. He also spoke out on the inadmissibility of accidental nuclear explosions in any possible situation. These words became his testament to future generations: “In striving to be better, try not to do the worst”. True-life story: In 1920, Nikolai Semenov, who was yet to become an internationally acclaimed physicist, told his friends “there will be plenty of discoveries in our century. And here’s Yulii,” he said, nodding at the freshman who was his assistant, “Give him 10 or 20 years and he will discover things Einstein himself couldn’t even dream of”. Everyone around took his remark as a joke. However, two decades later, Yulii Khariton together with Zeldovich published the calculation for uranium chain fission reaction. Years passed, and an argument between the scientists erupted as to which nation – the French, the English or the Germans - were first to start developing nuclear weapons in 1939-1940. “Personally, I started working on it back in 1927,” Khariton noted modestly.
Photo portrait of Yefim Slavsky, the USSR’s Minister of Medium Machine-Building
The snapshot was taken on November 30, 1991. Pictured here is Yefim Slavsky, Minister of Medium Machine-Building in the USSR, and one of the founders of the Soviet nuclear industry, who headed it over the course of nearly 30 years. True-life story: Minister Slavsky had always been in tip-top shape and had a powerful physique. Once, when he was already well into his eighties, his fellow scientists brought him a nuclear industry development plan for approval. – How many years is this plan going to take us to complete? – Slavsky asked them. – Twenty years, Yefim Pavlovich – they replied. – Well, well, well, – Slavsky chimed in. — Why, in 20 years all of you are going to kick the bucket, and then I’ll be blamed for everyone!
ONE-OF-A-KIND SCIENTIFIC FACILITIES
Kurchatov Institute Scientists Conducting an Experiment at the Ogra Facility
(Preparation of the new equipment for the Ogra thermonuclear experimental facility). A scientific experiment at the Ogra ("One gram of neutrons" in Russian) thermonuclear facility is seen here being conducted at the Kurchatov Institute of Atomic Energy. The Ogra was designed to study hot plasma accumulation. The facility’s construction began in 1957 and was completed in record time by mid-1958. In January 1959, scientists began carrying out the first experiments on the injection of molecular ions with the Ogra’s help.
Europe's First Uranium-Graphite Reactor: The F-1
The Kurchatov Institute. In December 1946, world-renowned Soviet nuclear physicist, Academician Igor Kurchatov, launched the F-1, the first graphite-pile nuclear reactor on the Eurasian continent. During the F-1 start-up, Kurchatov kept an axe in his hand. The reason for that was at that time the reactor’s safety systems were flawed. Control rods served as the ‘kill switch’ and were literally suspended from cables, so the cable would have to be cut in case of an emergency. Upon falling into the core, the rod would interrupt the chain reaction, and the nuclear fuel would stop working.
Assembling the Tokamak-7 at the Kurchatov Institute
This snapshot was taken on April 19, 1976. Doctor of Sciences in Physics and Mathematics, Dmitry Ivanov and engineer Evgeny Frolov are seen here assembling the Tokamak-7 installation at the Kurchatov Institute of Atomic Energy (currently, the National Research Center (NRC) Kurchatov Institute). Tokamak (a toroidal chamber with magnetic coils) is a toroidal installation for magnetic plasma confinement and the development of controlled thermonuclear fusion technologies. The Tokamak technology came into being thanks to the work of Soviet scientists. In 1979, they launched the world's first Tokamak with a superconducting magnetic system known as Tokamak-7.
The Research Institute of Atomic Reactors (RIAR)
This photo was taken on December 25, 1986. Pictured here are RIAR employees at the control panel of the BOR-60 research reactor (from left to right): Yuri Vasilevich, the shift supervisor and Vladimir Kurbatov, the senior reactor control engineer. The BOR-60 is one of the first fast neutron reactors representing a new stage in the development of reactor technologies. State Scientific Center (SSC) RIAR is one of Russia’s largest research institutes, which operates six research nuclear reactors and the biggest nuclear research complex in Europe.
RIAR Launches the Production of a Medical Isotope
This image was taken on December 19, 2010. On that day, the first stage of the production of radioisotope molybdenum-99 was launched at the SSC RIAR in Dimitrovgrad. The isotope is considered to be the "workhorse" of nuclear medicine thanks to its capability to diagnose various diseases.
The Betatron Scientific Installation Comes to Sarov
This photo was taken on October 11, 1996. Pictured here is Betatron, a unique installation created by the All-Russian Scientific Research Institute of Experimental Physics (VNIIEF) in Sarov (formerly Arzamas-16). An electron beam in the installation’s working chamber is accelerated by a magnetic field in a vacuum to near-light speed. Then it hits the target, giving a powerful beam of braking radiation. Experiments at the Betatron provide scientists with insight into the emergence and development of the Universe.
The All-Russian Scientific Research Institute of Experimental Physics (VNIIEF)
This snapshot was taken on May 5, 1996. The cask system aims to control staff access to the secure room of the nuclear center in Sarov. VNIIEF specialist Nina Alexandrovich stands holding the key to the office.
The Unparalleled Angara-5 Scientific Facility
This photo was taken on October 4, 1979. Pictured here is a module of the Angara-5 at the Kurchatov Institute. Angara-5 remains the largest facility on the continent for research into the physics of plasma and controlled thermonuclear fusion.
The Neutron Therapy Installation in Snezhinsk
This snapshot was taken on August 1, 1995. Ivan Ukrainsky, a research technician at the VNIITF`s plant in Snezhinsk, is preparing a new neutron therapy installation for the quality control commission. This installation is designed for the treatment of malignant tumors.
THE PEACEFUL ATOM SERVING THE NATION
Uranium processing in Novouralsk
An employee of the Ural Electrochemical Combine (UEKhK) working at the Chelnok facility. Here is where highly enriched uranium (HEU) is converted into low enriched uranium (LEU), used for producing fuel for nuclear power stations. The Ural Electrochemical Combine (AO (Joint-Stock Company) UEKhK) is the world's largest uranium enrichment facility. It develops and produces cutting-edge equipment and control systems for technological processes in the nuclear industry. Rosatom ranks first in the world in uranium enrichment.
Nuclear fuel pellets at the ELEMASH Machinery Manufacturing Plant in Elektrostal
This snapshot was taken on March 22, 2015. Pictured here is the production of fuel elements at the ELEMASH Machinery Manufacturing Plant in Elektrostal. Nuclear fuel is the most up-to-date and the most effective of all types of fuel ever used. One nuclear pellet produces as much energy as one tonne of oil.
Nuclear fuel processing at the ELEMASH Machinery Manufacturing Plant (MSZ)
This photo was taken on March 22, 2015. Pictured here is the production line in the workshop of the ELEMASH Machinery Manufacturing Plant in Elektrostal, where nuclear fuel assemblies are manufactured for pressurized water power reactors VVER-440. Customarily, uranium is referred to as nuclear fuel, but actually, the fuel has a very complex structure and uranium isotopes are one of its integral components. Every sixth power reactor in the world operates on fuel manufactured in Russia.
The First Nuclear Power Plant in Obninsk
Obninsk Nuclear Power Plant operators in the control room. The world's first industrial NPP was put into operation on June 26, 1954. Back then, TASS wrote “the preeminence of the Soviet Union over the United Kingdom and the United States in the peaceful use of nuclear power testifies to the success of Soviet nuclear scientists”.
Reactor of the First NPP in Obninsk
Obninsk Nuclear Power Plant workers by the AM-1 reactor (“Peaceful Atom” in Russia). The Obninsk nuclear station was put into operation on June 26, 1954. On July 1, 1954, TASS wrote from London “the start-up of the first industrial nuclear power plant in the USSR is being widely covered by the British media. The Moscow correspondent of the Daily Worker described this historic event as “by far, way more significant than the dropping of the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima.”
The Rostov Nuclear Energy Plant’s Construction Site
The Rostov Region. The photo was taken on May 1, 1986. The image shows Vladimir Borshakov, a shock worker, who completed the annual plan for the construction of the Rostov Nuclear Power Plant ahead of schedule. This is Russia’s southernmost nuclear energy station that produces about 50% of the total electricity output in the Rostov Region. The full-scale construction of the Rostov Nuclear Power Plant began in October 1979. In 1990, the construction of the nuclear plant was suspended and then resumed in 2000. On December 25, 2001, the first power unit was put into commercial operation.
The Novovoronezh Nuclear Power Plant’s turbines
Novovoronezh, the Voronezh Region, USSR. This photo was taken on April 9, 1979. Pictured here is the turbine hall of Units 3 and 4 of the Novovoronezh nuclear power plant named after the 50th Anniversary of the USSR. On September 30, 1964, the Novovoronezh NPP’s first power unit was commissioned, and not only was it the inauguration date for the entire nuclear power industry in Russia but also for several Eastern and Central European countries. This was the first Russian nuclear power station with a pressurized water reactor (VVER).
Laying the Groundwork for Installing Equipment at the Novovoronezh NPP
The Voronezh Region, USSR. This photo was taken in 1971, it shows the preparation for installing the reactor vault of the the Novovoronezh NPP’s third power unit. The plant was built in three stages: the first in place were Unit 1 (VVER-210 in 1964) and Unit 2 (VVER-365 in 1969); the second were Units 3 and 4 (VVER-440 in 1971 and 1972, respectively), the third was Unit 5 (VVER-1000 in 1980). In 1984, Unit 1 was decommissioned after 20 years of service, Unit 2 was deactivated in 1990, and Unit 3 was retired in 2016. In a first across Europe, the Russian nuclear industry embarked on a unique range of modernization works aimed at extending the service life of Units 3 and 4 for 15 years.
The Novovoronezh Nuclear Plant’s Construction Champions
Voronezh. This photo was taken on April 17, 1981. The Novovoronezh Nuclear Power Plant’s shock workers (from left to right): A. Kirichenko, the reactor vault’s shift supervisor; A. Demyanenko, the shift supervisor of the 5th power unit; V. Filatov, a machinist; and B. Samoilov, the senior engineer. The Novovoronezh NPP is one of the oldest nuclear power facilities in the Russian Federation and the largest producer of electricity in the Voronezh Region. The first unit was put into operation on September 30, 1964.
Radiation Measurements at the Novovoronezh Nuclear Power Plant
Novovoronezh, the Voronezh Region, December 1, 1972. V. Bocharov, the reactor hall foreman and dosimetrist is measuring the gamma activity of the containment building at the Novovoronezh nuclear power station, which is the first nuclear plant in Russia with a water-water energetic (or pressurized-water) reactor (VVER).
International Guests at the Novovoronezh Nuclear Power Plant
Novovoronezh, the Voronezh Region. The photo was taken on June 21, 1979. Pictured here is the director of the Novovoronezh Nuclear Power Plant Vitaly Sedov (second from the left) who is talking to specialists from Czechoslovakia at the training center. Experience in constructing and operating power units of the Novovoronezh NPP was highly sought after in countries that had a budding nuclear power industry.
Building Crew at the Rostov NPP Construction Site
The Rostov Region. This snapshot was taken on January 1, 1981, and pictured here is D. Dorosh’s integrated team from the Building and Construction Department (SMU) No. 2 during the Rostov NPP’s construction. The full-scale construction of the Rostov nuclear power plant began in October 1979. In 1990, the construction of the nuclear plant was suspended, but it resumed in 2000. On March 30, 2001, the turbine generator of the NPP’s first power unit was included in the Unified Energy System of Russia. On December 25, 2001, the power unit was put into commercial operation.
Reactor Pressure Vessel Strength Test
Volgodonsk, the Rostov Region. This photo was taken on August 1, 1988. Pictured here is a nuclear reactor vessel at the hydro-testing and assembly control section of the Atommash production association (PO). In the 1980s, the USSR’s nuclear industry experienced its most rapid development ever. Back then, the facility was capable of producing four sets of NPP equipment annually.
The Smolensk Nuclear Power Plant
The Smolensk Region. The photo was taken on March 11, 1985. Overall, over 14 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity have been generated since the launch of the Smolensk NPP. The Smolensk nuclear power station’s average annual electricity output is about 20 billion kW/h, that is, more than 75% of the total power plant-generated electricity output in the Smolensk Region.
The Smolensk NPP’s Brain: the Skala Computer System
Smolensk. This photo was taken on February 7, 1984. Pictured here is Alexander Nozhiev, a senior duty officer of the Smolensk nuclear power station’s Skala computer system. Skala is a computer designed for calculating, monitoring, and providing information on the state and condition of the power units.
Training at the Smolensk NPP
The Smolensk Nuclear Power Plant. This snapshot was taken on February 14, 1985. Pictured here is Deputy Shift Supervisor A. Shchupt along with Senior Control Engineer A. Panferov during a training session on using their hazmat suits.
Drills at the Smolensk Nuclear Power Station
Smolensk. The photo was taken on August 24, 2003, picturing a decontamination effort during a comprehensive emergency response exercise at the Smolensk Nuclear Power Plant. This training program includes drills to localize hypothetical accidents and eliminate possible consequences by the nuclear power plant’s personnel and its relevant specialists.
Installation of the Reactor Protection System at the Beloyarsk NPP
The Sverdlovsk Region. Pictured is S. Danilov, an electrical engineer, installing the reactor’s control and protection system at the Beloyarsk Nuclear Power Plant. Today, the Beloyarsk NPP generates about 16% of Sverdlovsk’s electric power supply system output.
The Beloyarsk NPP’s Control Panel
Russia. The Sverdlovsk Region. The photo was taken on June 6, 2006. Pictured is the control panel of the Beloyarsk Nuclear Power Plant (BNPP). The Beloyarsk NPP was recognized as Russia’s best nuclear power station in 1994, 1995, 1997, and 2001.
The Beloyarsk NPP’s Unit 1 Prepped for Launch
The Sverdlovsk Region. Pictured here is the first 600,000-kW fast breeder reactor set to be commissioned at the Beloyarsk Nuclear Power Plant. The image shows the steam turbine of Unit 3. The plant was constructed in three stages: the first that got up and running were Units 1 and 2 with an AMB reactor, the second was Unit 3 with a BN-600 reactor, and the third to get going was Unit 4 with a BN-800 reactor. Today, the Beloyarsk NPP operates two power units - a BN-600 and a BN-800. These are the world's only industrial energy units powered by fast neutron reactors, which are considered among the best in the world in terms of their reliability and safety.
Dispatching Equipment to the Balakovo Nuclear Power Plant
Leningrad. The photo was taken on June 21, 1988. Just another 1,000 MW generator is being made ready for shipment to the Balakovo NPP at the Electrosila industrial association. The Balakovo NPP is one of the largest nuclear power plants in Russia. The plant operates VVER-1000 reactors (project V-320). Its annual output is about 30 billion kW.
During a Shift at the Balakovo NPP
Balakovo, The Saratov Region. This photo was taken on December 10, 1988. Pictured here is B. Zadorin, a control engineer at the Balakovo Nuclear Power Plant’s reactor at work. The Balakovo plant has been awarded Russia’s top prize for best nuclear energy plant 16 times in its history (according to the outcome of contests held in 1995, 1999, 2000, 2003, 2005-2009, 2011-2014, 2016-2018, respectively). Late in 2019, the Balakovo NPP was recognized as Russia’s safest nuclear power plant for the ninth time.
the NPP in Chukotka
The snapshot was taken on November 1, 1987. The photo shows the first power unit of the Bilibino Nuclear Power Plant, which was commissioned in 1973. Situated in the heart of Chukotka, the Bilibino plant ensures the viability of ore and gold mining facilities. It operates as a part of an isolated power system in a controllable load mode.
Nuclear Power Plant in Russia’s North
This snapshot was taken in 1974. Pictured here is the Bilibino Nuclear Power Plant, which is Russia’s northernmost nuclear power plant. The Bilibino NPP produces 80% of the electricity generated in the isolated Chaun-Bilibino power system of Chukotka, being the only source of heat supply in Bilibino.
Installation of the First Unit Reactor Vessel at the Kalinin NPP
The Kalinin Oblast (nowadays, the Tver Region). The photo was taken on August 16, 1982. The Kalinin Nuclear Power Plant was built in the Tver Region’s north, 150 km from the city of Tver, on the southern shore of Lake Udomlya.
Entrance to the Construction Site of the Kalinin Nuclear Power Plant
The Kalinin Oblast (nowadays, the Tver Region). The photo was taken on September 1, 1977. VVER-1000 type reactors are used at the Kalinin NPP. Today, VVER reactors are the best in the world in operational safety, reliability, unit capacity, and economic efficiency. More than 1,000 reactor-years of successful incident-free operation have confirmed the efficiency of VVER reactors.
Shock Workers at the Kalinin NPP
Leningrad. The photo was taken on August 1, 1981. Shock workers N. Shaitorov (left) and N. Kvitchaty are seen here assembling the generator stator frame for the Kalinin NPP. Total installed capacity of the Kalinin NPP is 4000 MW. The station consists of two phases. Each phase includes two 1000 MW power units. The reactor start-up of Unit 1 took place in 1984. Later in 1986, Unit 2 was connected to the grid. Unit 3 was put into operation in 2004 and Unit 4 was launched in 2011.
Foreman Tishchenko Working at the Kola Nuclear Power Plant
The Murmansk Region. The photo was taken on December 19, 1974. Pictured here is Vyacheslav Tishchenko, a foreman at the Kola nuclear station’s reactor shop, at work. The Kola NPP is a unique energy facility. It is the first nuclear power plant built in the harsh climate of Russia’s Arctic and the northernmost nuclear energy station in Europe. The first power unit of the Kola nuclear plant was launched on June 29, 1973.
Equipment inspection at the Kola Nuclear Power Plant
USSR, the Kola Peninsula. The photo was taken on April 29, 1973. Senior foreman N. Verkhovetsky and laboratory assistant I. Shchapov are seen here checking dosimetry equipment in a lab at the Kola NPP. The first power unit of the Kola nuclear station was launched on June 29, 1973. The Kola nuclear plant supplies electricity to more than 50% of the consumers in the Murmansk and Karelia regions. The Kola NPP’s electrical output is provided by four power units with VVER reactors having a capacity of 440 MW each.
Checking the Kursk Nuclear Station’s Protection System
Kurchatov, the Kursk Region. This photo was taken on December 25, 1978. S. Baslovyak (left), an engineer at the installation and commissioning department and A. Borisov, senior foreman of the NPP laboratory are pictured here checking the reactor protection system of the Kursk NPP Unit 2 before its launch.
The Kursk NPP’s Nuclear Reactor
This photo was taken on January 19, 2012. The image shows the Kursk NPP’s graphite-moderated RBMK-1000 reactor in the city of Kurchatov. Being the most important hub in the country’s unified energy system, the Kursk NPP is one of Russia’s top four most powerful nuclear energy plants.
Fuel Loading at Kursk NPP
Kurchatov, the Kursk Region. This photo was taken on December 1, 1978. Ivan Sharov, a senior power plant operator is pictured here loading fuel into the reactor of the Kursk NPP’s Unit 2. The nuclear power plant operates boiling water reactors with a graphite moderator and a water coolant.
Alexander Belotserkovsky, a Kursk NPP turbine operator
Kurchatov, the Kursk Region. The photo was taken on April 4, 1977. The Kursk NPP is a single-loop nuclear power plant: steam supplied to the turbines is generated directly in the reactor when the boiling coolant passes through it.
The Kursk NPP Control Panel
The Kursk Region. The photo was taken on July 1, 1976. Pictured here is the control panel of the Kursk Nuclear Power Plant. This NPP supplies electricity to the majority of industrial facilities operating in the Kursk Region.
The Second Phase of the Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant’s Construction
The photo was taken on July 1, 1977. The construction of the Leningrad nuclear power station began in July 1967, and on December 22, 1973, the first power unit was launched. The station is made up of six power units. On December 21, 2018, Unit 1 (RBMK-1000) was shut down for decommissioning after 45 years of exploitation. Units 2, 3, 4 (RBMK-1000), and Unit 5 (VVER-1200) are still in operation. Unit 6 (VVER-1200) is currently under construction (the start of its commercial operation is scheduled for 2020).
Working at the Leningrad NPP
The photo was taken on September 9, 1981. Pictured here is Senior Turbine Operator of the Leningrad NPP’s fourth power unit, Shock Worker A. Kobyakov at work. Four RBMK-1000 power units were installed at the Leningrad NPP. The installed capacity of the plant is 4,000 MW.
A Moment at Work at the Leningrad NPP
The photo was taken on September 1, 1981. Pictured here is senior engineer of Reactor Control of Power Unit 2 of the Leningrad Nuclear Power Plant named after Vladimir Lenin, Shock Worker V. Soldatov. The Leningrad station’s installed capacity of 4,200 MW makes it the most powerful nuclear plant in Russia. The Leningrad NPP is the only plant in Russia where power units of two different types operate: graphite-moderated power reactors and pressurized water reactors.
In the Central Hall of the Leningrad NPP’s Third Power Unit
The photo was taken on February 18, 1980. The RBMK reactors’ unique capabilities facilitated the introduction of radiation processing technologies at the Leningrad NPP, as well as the production of 10 medical and industrial radiochemical isotopes.
RUSSIA’S NUCLEAR ICEBREAKERS
The Soviet Nuclear Icebreaker Arktika in the Kara Sea
The photo was taken on June 23, 1975. Pictured here is the Arktika nuclear-powered icebreaker in the Kara Sea. The Arktika gained recognition for having performed an extraordinary achievement in the history of Russia’s nuclear icebreaker fleet. On August 17, 1977, this vessel became the first surface ship in history to reach the North Pole. During its most difficult and successful mission in autumn 1983, the icebreaker and its crew managed to salvage ice-bound transport vessels in the Sea of Chukotsk and led them back to open waters. That year saw the worst ice conditions in the Eastern Arctic in the entire 20th century.
The Sibir Nuclear-Powered Icebreaker (“Siberia”) at the North Pole
Photo dated 1987. The Sibir’s service history is marked by two outstanding voyages. In 1978, the icebreaker escorted the motor ship Kapitan Myshevsky eastbound all along the Northern Sea Route. In 1987, not only did the nuclear-powered icebreaker and crew reach the North Pole, but they also moved the research team off the SP-27 drifting ice station and facilitated the opening of the SP-29 research station.
The Lenin Nuclear-Powered Icebreaker at Work
Pictured here is the USSR’s Lenin nuclear-powered icebreaker escorting the diesel-electric ship Pavel Ponomarev along the Kara Sea. This snapshot was taken on April 1, 1976. The Lenin icebreaker was the world’s first civilian ship to use nuclear marine propulsion. During the vessel’s 30-year-long service life, this ship covered a route three times as long as the distance from the Earth to the Moon. In order to make the crew and the passengers comfortable, the shipbuilders equipped it with a sauna, a music room with a grand piano, a library and a movie hall.
Radio Direction Finding on board the Lenin Nuclear-Powered Icebreaker
The photo was taken in June 1960. Navigator Alexander Chupyra is pictured here operating the radio direction finder on board the Lenin nuclear-powered icebreaker. For the first time ever, the ship carried a winter team and disembarked the group on an ice floe, thereby enabling the establishment of the SP-10 drifting ice station in 1961.
The Lenin Nuclear-Powered Icebreaker Cruising along the Neva River
Leningrad, September 12, 1959. Pictured here is the Lenin nuclear-powered icebreaker sailing along the Neva River. The ship’s crew earned recognition for performing many labor feats. For instance, in 1976, the Lenin escorted the diesel-electric ship Pavel Ponomarev loaded with gas mining equipment in its first trial voyage to the Yamal Peninsula’s Cape Harasaway.
The Lenin Nuclear-Powered Icebreaker in the Kola Gulf
This photo was taken on December 25, 1984. In 2016, the world’s first nuclear-powered surface ship NS Lenin was added to Russia’s national cultural heritage register. Today, the Lenin icebreaker hosts the Nuclear Power Information Center and a permanent exhibition titled “Atom and the Arctic”. This interactive museum/educational complex is dedicated to the history of the nuclear-powered icebreaker fleet. Moreover, it focuses on the Northern Sea Route’s progress, the Arctic region’s industrial development, climatic and ecological features, along with technological and scientific progress in ice navigation and nuclear marine propulsion.
The Lenin Nuclear Icebreaker in the Arctic Ocean
This photo was taken in November 1961. Seen here is the NS Lenin on the ice of the Arctic Ocean near the “Severny Polus-10” (North Pole – 10) station landing area. For three decades, the Lenin icebreaker provided navigation along the Northern Sea Route and served as a sort of “nuclear university”. It was here where the USSR’s nuclear fleet crewmen received training, year-round Arctic navigation experience was accumulated and relevant technologies improved. The NS Lenin escorted thousands of vessels through the Arctic. During the icebreaker’s service life, she travelled 654,400 nautical miles, or more than three times the distance from the Earth to the Moon. The NS Lenin was decommissioned in 1989.
The NS Lenin Cruises through the Arctic Ocean’s Ice
Photo date: June 1960. Today, the nuclear-powered icebreaker Lenin is one of the most visited tourist sites of the Kola North. The retired vessel welcomed more than 250,000 visitors in the first seven years of service as a museum.
The NS Lenin Cruises Through the Ice-Clad Arctic Ocean
Photo date: October 1961. The Lenin nuclear-powered icebreaker is seen here navigating through the frozen waters of the Arctic Ocean. The ship was commissioned on May 6, 1960. During her 30-year-long service life in the Arctic, the nuclear-powered icebreaker Lenin successfully escorted 3,741 vessels and covered the distance of 654,400 nautical miles, which is comparable in length to 30 round-the-world voyages along the equator. The NS Lenin participated in 26 voyages throughout its operational life spanning 1959-1989.
Radiation Measurements on board the Vaygach Icebreaker
A radiation safety specialist is pictured measuring the radiation environment on board the Vaygach nuclear-powered icebreaker. The shallow-draught nuclear-powered icebreaker Vaygach is the second of two Project 10580 vessels. The icebreaker has a reduced draft allowing it to escort ships along the Northern Sea Route and call at the Siberian river mouths. The ship is named after the early 20th century hydrographic icebreaking vessel Vaygach.
Tourist Voyage on the Rossiya Nuclear-Powered Icebreaker
The photo was taken on August 24, 1990. Pictured here are Scientists Fred Tunick (USA) and Dugald Wells (Canada) measuring the ice thickness by using a specialized electrical appliance during a tourist cruise to the North Pole on board the NS Rossiya. That year, the Rossiya icebreaker and her crew made the first commercial passenger voyage to the North Pole in the nuclear navy’s history. Later on, these cruises became regular.
The Rossiya Nuclear-Powered Icebreaker on a Polar Expedition
The photo was taken on January 15, 1988. Pictured here is the Rossiya nuclear-powered icebreaker during a polar expedition. The NS Rossiya was completed in 1985. In 2007, the vessel enabled the exploration of the Russian continental shelf that was carried out with the help of two Mir type deep sea mini-submarines deployed aboard the Akademik Fedorov scientific diesel-electric research vessel. During this expedition, the Russian flag was planted on the sea bed at the North Pole.
The Taymyr Nuclear-Powered Icebreaker and her Trusty Assistant - the MI-2 Ice Patrol Helicopter
Arctic navigation within the western section of the Northern Sea Route. In 1997, the first ships left Murmansk for Dudinka two or three weeks earlier than usual, led by the nuclear-powered icebreakers, the Yamal, Taymyr and Vaygach. The early start of the navigation season allowed for hundreds of tonnes of extra cargo to be shipped. The photo shows the nuclear-powered icebreaker Taymyr and the Mi-2 ice patrol helicopter – her trusty assistant.
The Propulsion System Being Constructed for the Sevmorput Nuclear-Powered Icebreaking LASH Carrier
This photo was taken on June 20, 1985. Pictured here are machine fitters I. Soroka (on the left) and Y. Georgievsky in the process of assembling the propulsion system to be installed on the first Russian nuclear-powered icebreaking LASH carrier, the Sevmorput. The Sevmorput nuclear-powered container carrier - Russia’s only nuclear-powered icebreaking container ship – was built at the Zaliv Shipyard. The vessel is capable of maintaining a speed of 2 knots through one-meter thick ice.
The Sevmorput Nuclear-Powered Icebreaking LASH carrier anchored in the Outer Harbor
The photo was taken on March 10, 1989. The Sevmorput nuclear-powered icebreaking LASH carrier is seen here anchored in the outer roadstead. Thanks to its nuclear drive, the ship has an unlimited operational range. The auxiliary engine provides for a 6,000-mile operating range when fully loaded with fuel. Hull strength and configuration allows for navigation in Arctic waters either with icebreaker assistance or in solo mode.
Russia’s Newest Nuclear-Powered Icebreakers in St. Petersburg
The photo was taken on April 30, 2020. Pictured here is the lead ship of the Project 22220 Arktika nuclear-powered icebreakers and her first sister-ship Sibir (pictured from right to left) stationed near the Baltic Shipyard where the Project 22220 icebreakers are being built. Five such nuclear-powered icebreakers are under construction.