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Ivanovskaya Hiroshima: nuclear explosion near Moscow
Ivanovskaya Hiroshima: nuclear explosion near Moscow

As a result of "Ivanovskaya Hiroshima", one of the most important waterways of the Soviet Union, the Volga, was under the threat of radioactive contamination.

On September 19, 1971, an underground nuclear explosion thundered in the Ivanovo region of the USSR on the banks of the Shachi River. A powerful gas-water fountain escaping from the ground for almost three weeks threw radioactive substances onto the surface. The straight-line distance from the scene of the incident to Red Square in Moscow was 363 km …


The camouflage (underground) nuclear explosion in the immediate vicinity of the Soviet capital was not an accident. Since 1965, the program "Nuclear Explosions for the National Economy" has been carried out in the country, the purpose of which was to create artificial reservoirs and canals to connect rivers, to search for and develop mineral deposits.

Testing the atomic bomb in the USSR

It was assumed that during underground detonation, the spread of radiation on the surface and environmental pollution can be avoided. But the explosion at the proving ground in the Ivanovo region, known as Globus-1, was a bitter exception.

Initially, everything went according to plan. A nuclear charge with a capacity of 2.3 kilotons (six times less than in the bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945) was laid at the bottom of a drilled well 610 meters deep, after which it was filled with cement.

Decontamination of trucks

The explosion was carried out according to the schedule at 16:15, however, 18 minutes later, a fountain hit a meter from the well, carrying radioactive groundwater, gases, sand and clay to the surface. As it turned out later, the cementing was performed incorrectly.

As a result of the emissions lasting twenty days, an area of ​​up to ten thousand square meters was contaminated. Soon after the accident, the most contaminated areas were decontaminated, and some of the equipment had to be abandoned on the spot.

Classified disaster

Decontamination of trucks

The population of the village of Galkino, located four kilometers from the accident site, was informed that not far from them, underground explosions were looking for oil. However, people had no idea that radiation was involved.

The residents of the village (as well as the whole country) were not told about the nuclear disaster, they only put a sign "Forbidden zone within a radius of 450 meters." He could not scare off local teenagers from exploring the territory. Two boys who climbed into the hole at the site of the explosion began to fade rapidly and died soon after. The official cause of death was recorded as meningitis.

Ivanovo region

Local residents continued to regularly visit Globus-1, pick up equipment left there by scientists, graze cattle, and pick mushrooms and berries in the vicinity. Meanwhile, in the nearby districts of the Ivanovo region, the number of oncological diseases began to grow steadily, premature babies were born, and miscarriages often occurred. There was even a recorded case of the birth of a calf with two heads.

"Ivanovskaya Hiroshima", as the accident was later dubbed, affected not only the local scientists, but also the scientists who worked there. In 1975, the forty-four-year-old seismologist V. Fedorov, who supervised the preparation and conduct of the explosion, was completely blind.

Ivanovo region

Dealing with the consequences

The Globus-1 accident posed a danger not only for the villages of the Ivanovo region, but also for large metropolitan areas. If the Shacha River changed its course and “punched” its way to the well, it would immediately be exposed to massive radioactive contamination. Considering the fact that Shacha is a tributary of one of the most important rivers of the country - the Volga, the lives and health of thousands of people would be under threat.

The Soviet, and then the Russian authorities constantly kept the contaminated area close to Moscow under control and carried out the necessary decontamination of the territory.In addition, the Shacha River was directed along a different channel, away from the hazardous area.

Ivanovo region

Ivanovo region. 30 years since the nuclear underground explosion - Nikolay Moshkov

Today "Globus-1" continues to be a dangerous area. The background radiation of 600 microroentgens per hour allows you to stay there only for a short time (the norm for a person is up to 50 microroentgens per hour). Moreover, in some regions, the radiation intensity exceeds 3000 microroentgens.

Realizing the threat, residents one by one began to leave Galkino. No one lives in the ghost village today. It will take tens of thousands of years for the territory of Globus-1 to become completely safe again.

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