secret “Installation” where bombs were designed. The city’s official
name is Sarov; it is also known now as Arzamas-16, sometimes nicknamed
“Los Arzamas” after its American prototype, Los Alamos.
route from the Sloyka design to a full-fledged H-bomb. The first page
of a memo by Zeldovich and Sakharov of 14 January 1954, describing
the idea of AO - “Atomnoe Obzhatie” (atomic compression).
Zeldovich, Andrei Sakharov and David Frank-Kamenetskii, at the
“Installation” was a secret city in the central Volga region
of the USSR where a special design bureau was creating nuclear weapons.
Even the name of the city – Sarov, once the site of a famous Orthodox
monastery – was secret for some forty years. Tamm and Sakharov
moved to the Installation in spring 1950. While the theoretical group
headed by Zeldovich continued to work on the Truba design, Tamm’s team
worked on Sakharov’s Sloyka. The latter provided the first Soviet H-bomb,
successfully tested on 12 August 1953.
“I couldn’t ignore how horrible
and inhuman our work was. But the war that had just ended was also inhuman.
I wasn’t a soldier in that war, but I felt like one in this scientific
and technological war. (Kurchatov himself said we were soldiers, and this
was no idle remark.)”
Sakharov’s drawing of
Tokamak idea, with explanations added.
to this effort, in 1950 Sakharov and Tamm proposed an idea
for a controlled thermonuclear fusion reactor, the TOKAMAK (abbreviated
from the Russian phrase for Toroidal Chamber with Magnetic Coil). This
invention originally was considered to be related to weaponry, but in
1956 Kurchatov disclosed this and some other formerly secret Soviet
ideas during a visit to the British nuclear center in Harwell. The research
on controlled fusion subsequently became a declassified and open field,
and an arena for international competition for building a practically
unlimited peaceful source of energy. TOKAMAK is currently regarded as
one of the top candidates.
the thermonuclear test of 1953 Tamm returned to Moscow to
resume academic work at FIAN. Sakharov was elected full member of the
Soviet Academy of Sciences, awarded the first of his three Hero of Socialist
Labor Medals, as well as Stalin Prize and a luxurious dacha (country
house). He assumed Tamm’s position at the Installation and made the
key contribution to the Soviet Union’s first full-fledged H-bomb, tested
Nuclear Testing and Conscience, 1957-1963
Previous: From Graduate School to
Bomb Design, 1945-1950
© 1998 -
American Institute of Physics and Gennady Gorelik