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Annya: Chernobyl Certificate No. 000358

After the Second World War, Lavrenti Beria, Stalin's much feared NKVD chief, traveled to the remote Kazakh steppes in an armored train. In the early morning of August 29 1949 his secret "Task nr. 1" reached its completion. Watched by a number of scientists, a crane was used to assemble parts for the experiment.

Beria and the scientists then took shelter at a command post some 10 km away. At 6.00 AM there was an explosion and a flash of light. In 'Stalin, The Court of the Red Tsar', Simon Sebag Montefiore describes Beria rushing out with the others to watch a rising mushroom cloud. "Task nr. 1" had been successfully completed. Beria was so excited he kissed the leading scientist on the forehead: 'Did it look like the American one?', he wanted to know. Four years after Hiroshima, the Soviet Union now also had the atomic bomb.

That first nuclear test in Semipalatinsk was followed by hundreds more. Alongside the military programme the civilian nuclear industry developed until it reached all corners of the Soviet Union. Many grave accidents, almost-disasters and countless incidents have not slowed down or halted plans to further expand the industry, even in areas that have already been heavily contaminated: Russia, Kazakhstan, the Ukraine and Belarus.

The Russian Federation which has far reaching ambitions. Already it provides knowledge, technology and services to a number of nuclear states like China, India and Iran.
Robert Knoth

The newly published book, Annya: Chernobyl Certificate No. 000358, is available from the foto8 bookshop - click here for details >>


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