Atomic Lake Chagan: USSR unfulfilled dream
In the 60s of the last century, at the height of the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States, both countries competed not only in the space sector. As you know, this race is over the fact that the Americans put a man on the moon. Both countries have been active testing of atomic weapons. And not only for military purposes. In the USSR, there was a so-called program "Nuclear Explosions for the National Economy," in which Soviet scientists have considered the possibility of using nuclear bombs to solve industrial and other non-military tasks.
The idea of using a nuclear explosion energy to solve the non-military tasks such as laying water channels, mining, destruction of glaciers and other peaceful purposes, the Soviet leadership can say "assembled" from the West. In 1957, the so-called Operation Plowshares, or as it was called in the Soviet Union "Operation Ploughshare" was launched in the United States. In the framework of the Americans fired 27 peaceful nuclear explosions. In 1973, the program recognized the hopeless and closed. A similar program was born in the USSR in 1965 and was carried out until 1988 in the territory of Yakutsk, the Kemerovo, the Uzbek SSR and other areas. Within its framework, it was conducted in a total of 124 of peaceful nuclear explosion.
Read also: How do scientists know about the nuclear bomb tests?
How to create nuclear lake Chagan
The program began with a project to create an artificial lake Chagan in the Semipalatinsk region in Kazakhstan. Later it was called Atomic lake. As planned by the scientists created by a nuclear explosion funnel can be used to create an artificial reservoir. At high temperatures of the explosion and the bottom edge of the crater would have to weld. Thus the water that gets into the lake, for example, as a result of spring floods could stay there. Such reservoirs planned to place in the arid steppes of Kazakhstan at least forty. Scientists expected to use them to solve the problems of summer drought, as well as locations for watering livestock. But the arrogance of scientists in the end they let him down. The first production in the USSR explosion took place January 15, 1965 in the floodplain of a small river Chagan, a tributary of the Irtysh. For this, scientists have created a well about 178 meters deep, and laid it in a nuclear warhead capacity of 140 kilotons. power of the explosion was so great that in the air to a height of 950 meters was raised by 10, 3 million tons of soil.
At the site of blasting a crater depth of 100 and 430 meters in diameter. Tons of rock were scattered within a radius of several dozen kilometers.
Satellite image Chagan Lake (circular crater)
In the spring of the same year began the digging of channels work for the descent into the funnel of flood waters of the River Chagan. The work was carried out very quickly. Scientists would like to have time before the beginning of the spring flood. But in the end, when all the engineering work was completed on the territory of Kazakhstan there was an artificial lake, totaling about 20 million cubic meters.
Soviet experts realized that melt water can carry away in Irtysh precipitated radioactive dust from the entire region, so to avoid such consequences on the lake and erected a protective platinum. As indicated by various sources, working from 180 to 300 people in the blast zone. All later due to high doses of radiation developed chronic diseases.
The lake tried to settle animals
In the USSR the first proud of this project. We made a film about the achievements of the Soviet peaceful nuclear program. And yes, even swimming in the lake. First Minister made a swim Engineering of the USSR.
At the end of the 60s near the lake built a biological station, which held a series of experiments to investigate the residual effects of radiation on living organisms. The lake CHagan was started more than thirty different kinds of fish, more than two dozen species of shellfish and mammals and nearly 150 species of plants.
It is noted that up to 90 percent of all of these organisms subsequently died. But not because of radiation but because of uncharacteristic for their habitat. But the remaining 10 percent of the animals that were able to survive in these conditions, the radiation is even acted. Many species of mutated genes and these mutations passed to subsequent generations. In particular, some types of fish and other aquatic inhabitants increased in size. In the mid-70s science station was closed.
Is it dangerous to Chagan Lake today?
Of course. Chagan Lake entered the government of Kazakhstan to the list of areas, particularly affected by the nuclear tests. The lake is still home to some species of fish but eat them is not recommended. The water contained in the lake is not suitable for drinking and irrigating agricultural land. Level it contains radioactive substances are hundreds of times higher than permissible limits. Nevertheless, this does not stop some locals here which lead to the watering livestock.
Although the radiation hazards, Chaganskoe atomic lake today as the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, is a place that attracts tourists from around the world.
See also: The most radioactive places on Earth. This is not Chernobyl
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