History 24/03/20 Secret “first”: how actually mined uranium in the Soviet Union
the Myth that uranium ore in the Soviet Union was producing exclusively a man on death row, arose, perhaps due to the fact that this subject initially was supervised personally by Beria, as she was part of a larger “nuclear project”.
Catch up and overtake the West
prior To world war uranium mining in the Soviet Union is not particularly interested. When it became known that Britain and the United States ahead of the Soviet Union in developing nuclear weapons, the Committee of Geology under the Council of people’s Commissars of the USSR was urgently supplemented by Department of radioactive elements. In 1943, the Soviet geologists were given the task as quickly as possible to explore uranium deposits and prepare the conditions for its development.
the Most active work in this direction under the guidance you have just created the Main geological survey administration began immediately after the war. Promising in this respect was considered a district of the Ferghana valley, then the attention of the geologists moved on to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, where they found uranium deposits. The largest reserves of ores of uranium found in Ukraine, in Pervomaisk Zheltorechensk and fields.
Who and how to obtain secret “the first”
Initially, when development of uranium deposits was not enough transportation, equipment. Pioneers in the Pamir mountain trails carrying ore on donkeys and camels. Protective equipment often was not uranium ore drilled in the same way as coal, punches. Used placer mining (surface) coal mine and the mining methods. Prisoners some time in these works is really involved (but this was not a suicide, the contingent was chosen different, from criminals to political), but such developments required a certain mining skills.
Most of the prisoners worked on the surface and in ZabOU, mainly down by the same geologists. They were paid 20% more than conventional representatives of this profession. In 70-e years a miner in the uranium mine could earn about 900 rubles. Prisoners directly involved in the mine work, the implementation of single standards were counted for the year of term three. Among enthusiasts randomitems were a lot of workers performing at two or more rules for a change. They were given awards and titles, but the papers chose not to write, what kind of service – development of deposits of uranium ore were conducted in strict secrecy, even the uranium was forbidden to call it – it is often called simply “the first.”
Uranium mines often did not have good ventilation and security systems – miners every day under the threat of landslides, flooding, regularly receiving radiation dose when working with radioactive materials. Later began to use dosimeters (Geiger counters) to measure radiation levels. In the mines with almost a kilometer depth was very high temperature reaching 50 degrees.
the miners Lived near the mines. For example, the city of Krasnokamensk in the Transbaikal, once the geological settlement, at the time, became a major center for the extraction of uranium ore in the Soviet Union.
the Harm from natural uranium is exaggerated?
According to the developers themselves uranium deposits, many of which lived to be 90 years of age, the severity of the effects of uranium isotopes on the human body are exaggerated. Were the miners who have died in 50 years, and some of them worked in the mine for 30 years and feel fine, even in terms of performance of marital duties. There is an opinion that at conventional coal-mines the level of health risk is much higher.
… by the beginning of 1970 the Soviet Union each year, gave to the mountain of almost 18 thousand tons of uranium, while the rest of the world – 25 thousand tons. According to the geologists, in the depths of Russia now may be more than half a thousand tons of uranium is of the order of 10% of the world reserves.
© Russian Seven
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