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Citizen Kurchatov: Stalin's Bomb Maker

 

The MAUD Committee

In April 1940, Britain began research into the feasibility of building an atomic bomb. In July of 1941, the MAUD Committee printed its final report and disbanded. The report reached America in October, but Soviet agents already had much of the report in September.

The report outlined the expected critical mass of uranium (approximately 1 kilogram) and the estimated explosive output. It also detailed the steps needed to collect, separate and purify the amount of uranium needed to build the bomb. It was an outline for a complete bomb project.

However, the Soviets were slow to react to the report. In March of 1942, Beria finally wrote a memorandum summarizing the intelligence he had collected from Britain and the United States. He recommended that the Soviets create a team to investigate building a bomb.

Kurchatov was shown the complete report from the MAUD Committee after he was selected to lead the Soviet bomb project. He was impressed with the research, but found a few mistakes and could not trust many of the results.

 

 

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