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    On August 20, 1953, the USSR announced the successful test of a hydrogen bomb.

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    November 1, 1952, the United States detonated the first prototype hydrogen bomb in the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean, thus becoming the only country with such destructive technology.

    However, less than a year later, on August 8, 1953 , during a speech at a meeting of the Supreme Council, Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the USSR Georgy Malenkov addressed the deputies.

    “The government considers it necessary to inform the Supreme Council that the United States is no longer a monopoly in the production of the hydrogen bomb,” – said Malenkov.

    Such a statement, of course, did not go unnoticed. For example, the American newspaper The New York Times published an issue in which it asked the question: “Does Malenkov tell the truth?” Then, as Andrei Sakharov, one of the creators of the hydrogen bomb, notes in his memoirs, “Malenkov’s statement could add to our unrest. But we could no longer worry more, we were at the last line. ”

    At this time, a group of Soviet scientists was already preparing to test the first hydrogen bomb. Four days later, on August 12, 1953, at the test site near Semipalatinsk (Kazakh SSR) at 7:30 local time (4:30 Moscow time), the Soviet Union successfully tested the RDS-6s hydrogen bomb for the first time.

    Then Academician of the USSR Academy of Sciences Igor Kurchatov, one of the creators of the atomic bomb, was appointed responsible for the tests – at six in the morning he was already at the observation post, from where he gave the command to start the countdown. As eyewitnesses later noted, the explosion was colossal and at times exceeded the explosions of atomic bombs.

    A cloud of dust rose to a height of up to 8 km. The top of the atomic mushroom has reached a level of 12 km, and the diameter of the dust of the cloud column is approximately 6 km. For those who watched the explosion from the western side, day turned into night. Thousands of tons of dust rose into the air. The mass slowly went beyond the horizon. Observations over the cloud were made by aircraft, including those that were raised to take samples, ”recalled Vladimir Komelkov, one of the eyewitnesses of the explosion, a physicist and participant in the nuclear project.

    point of 190 structures, between which were placed samples of military equipment. A feature of the Soviet bomb was that it could be dropped from the air – it was a full-fledged projectile. Physicists did just that – the RDS-6s was raised on a steel mast 30 meters from the ground and dropped. As a result of the explosion, all brick buildings were demolished within a radius of 4 km, and the heat from the first flash, according to the memoirs of a mathematician, and in the future president of the USSR Academy of Sciences, Mstislav Keldysh, could be felt at a distance of 25 km from the explosion.

    Three days later, a physicist Nikolai Vlasov, an employee of the Radium Institute of the USSR Academy of Sciences, arrived at the scene, on whom the consequences of the explosion had an indelible impression.

    “The general impression of the terrible and a huge destructive force is already building up from afar. Yes, the explosion really turned out to be much stronger than the explosion of an atomic bomb. The impression of him, apparently, surpassed some psychological barrier. The traces of the first explosion of an atomic bomb did not inspire such shuddering horror, although they were incomparably more terrible than anything seen recently in the last war, ”Vlasov wrote.

    Only on August 20, eight days after the explosion, newspapers Pravda and Izvestia announced the tests that had passed.

    Soon, information about the USSR’s statement reached US President Dwight Eisenhower, however, as reported, the head of state then did not even change his daily routine.

    According to consultants from the US Atomic Energy Commission, the USSR not only tested the bomb, but also demonstrated scientific and technical superiority.

    “In fact, they tested the physical principle. Using a fission-based atomic bomb as a fuse, they no longer used uranium or plutonium, but lithium deuteride. It was not a weapon, and the RDS-6s was already a ready-made ammunition, which was assembled and successfully tested. After us, the Americans tested their bomb very quickly, so it was a purely technical rivalry that had no real military meaning. Moreover, by that time, the United States had already accumulated many hundreds of fission-based atomic bombs,” Arbatov told Gazeta.

    “Delo in that it became possible to create compact nuclear weapons, and the use of fusion reactions of light elements into heavier ones made it possible to make ammunition less heavy, overall, but at the same time very destructive. The hydrogen bomb theoretically created the possibility of producing weapons of unlimited power. In addition, this entailed a multiple increase in nuclear warheads, and they need carriers. The rocket industry also developed, medium-range missiles appeared, then intercontinental missiles,” Arbatov explained. .

    In turn, in a hydrogen bomb, energy is released as a result of the reaction of thermonuclear fusion of heavy hydrogen – deuterium and tritium – and the production of heavier elements. The main advantage of thermonuclear weapons is that, unlike atomic weapons, they theoretically have no power limitations.

    “However, it is still the first suitable to the practical application of a product with thermonuclear fuel. The main difference between the Soviet model and the American one is the use of lithium deuterium instead of heavy water or liquid deuterium. The product tested by the United States on the Enewetok Atoll in 1952 was a specific design filled with liquid deuterium and was more likely intended for testing a two-stage design than for military use, since the dimensions of the “bomb” were commensurate with the dimensions of a three-story building, ”explained Shmanin.

    The thermonuclear charge, made according to the Sakharov scheme, was created according to the “sloika” system (hence the system got its name – “Sakharov’s puff”) – a spherical system of layers of uranium and thermonuclear fuel surrounded by an explosive, which was the main feature of the design, since it made it possible to significantly increase the plane of thermonuclear fuel and reduce its spread, increasing the efficiency of the product.

    possession of thermonuclear weapons gives a huge advantage over other countries, which is a great temptation and could plunge the world into chaos,” concluded Shmanin.

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