Savior of Russia
Kurchatov's future after the death of Stalin and the arrest of Beria was uncertain, but he kept working on the hydrogen bomb with the same energy. However, some scientists not directly involved with the project refused to contribute any more research to developing bombs.
July of 1953, a train arrived at the Semipalatinsk test site to prepare
for the hydrogen bomb test. However, they quickly realized that the tremendous
blast of the stronger H-bomb would create a radioactive cloud that could
endanger the lives of thousands of people living in surrounding communities.
It was decided to delay the test and evacuate the surrounding communities. On August 8th, as the scientists were preparing for the test, they listened on the radio to Malenkov's speech before the Supreme Soviet. He proclaimed that the United States no longer held a monopoly on hydrogen bombs. Pressure on the scientists was already extremely high, but this added a little more emphasis.
Sakharov and Kurchatov watched the explosion from a hill several miles away. The bomb exploded with a 400 kiloton force, ten times stronger than the last Russian atomic bomb test. Kurchatov bowed to Sakharov and announced, "Thanks to you, the savior of Russia!"
of Nuclear Testing
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