Nuclear top

 Here is a nondescript gray cylinder and is a key part of the Russian nuclear industry. Looks, of course, not too presentable, but its purpose is to understand and take a look at the specs, as you begin to understand why the secret of his creation and the state protects the device as the apple of his eye.

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Oh, I forgot to provide: in front of you, the gas centrifuge for uranium isotope separation BT-3F (n-th generation). Operation elemental like dairy separator heavy by centrifugal force, is separated from the lung. So what is the significance and uniqueness? To begin to answer another question — why would you want to share uranium? Natural uranium, which is right here in the land of lies, is a mix of the two isotopes: Uranium-238 and Uranium-235 (And 0,0054% U-234).

Uranium-238, it’s just a heavy, gray metal. From it you can make an artillery shell, or … well, a key ring. But what can be done Uranium-235? Well in the first atomic bomb, in the second fuel for nuclear power plants. And here we come to the key question — how to separate the two, almost identical atoms from each other? Well, no, actually, HOW?

By the way: The radius of the nucleus of an atom of uranium -1.5 10-8  see

In order that the atoms of uranium could be driven into a technological chain, it (uranium) should be turned into a gaseous state. Boil it makes no sense, it is enough to connect with fluorine and uranium hexafluoride get HFC. The technology of its receipt is not very difficult and costly, and therefore HFC get right where the uranium is mined and. UF6 is the only highly volatile mix of uranium (with heating to 53 ° C hexafluoride (pictured) goes directly from solid to gas). It was then pumped into a special tank and is sent to the enrichment.

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A little history At the beginning of the nuclear arms race, the greatest scientific minds of both the USSR and the USA, mastered the idea of diffusion separation — pass uranium through a sieve. Small 235th isotope slip, and «thick» 238th stuck. And make a sieve with nano-holes of Soviet industry in 1946 was not the most challenging.

From the report of Isaac Kikoin on scientific and technical council of the Council of People’s Commissars (contained in a collection of declassified materials on the Soviet atomic project (Ed. Ryabev)) At present, we have learned to mesh with holes about 5/1, 000 mm, ie 50 times the mean free path of the molecules at atmospheric pressure. Consequently, the gas pressure at which the separation of isotopes of grids will occur must be less than 1/50 atmospheric pressure. In practice, we expect to operate at a pressure of about 0.01 atmosphere, i.e. in a good vacuum. The calculation shows that for product enriched to a concentration of 90% of the light isotope (such a concentration sufficient to produce explosive) must be connected to a cascade of about 2,000 of these steps. In the designed and partly manufactured by us is calculated to get the car 75-100 g of uranium-235 per day. The installation will consist of approximately 80-100 «pillars», each of which will be mounted 20-25 steps. «

Below is a document — a report from Beria to Stalin about the preparation of the first atoinogo explosion. Below is given a little help on-established nuclear materials by early summer 1949 year. 

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And now imagine yourself — 2000 hefty installations for some 100 grams! Well, and what to do something, because the bombs are needed. So they built factories, and not just the factory, and the whole city. And the right only of the city, electricity, these diffusion plants require so much that we had to build a power plant next to the individual.

In the photo: the world’s first gaseous diffusion enrichment plant K-25 in Oak Ridge (USA). Construction cost $ 500 million Length U-shaped building about half a mile.

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In the USSR the first phase of the D-1 plant number 813, was designed for a total output of 140 grams of 92-93% enriched uranium-235 per day for 2 identical power stages of the 3100 separation stages. Production was driven by an unfinished aircraft factory in the village of Upper Neyvinsk, 60 km from the Sverdlovsk. He later became a Sverdlovsk-44, and the 813th Plant (pictured) in the Ural Electrochemical Integrated Plant — the largest in the world separating production.

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And although the technology diffusion separation, albeit with great technological difficulties, it was established, the idea of developing a more economical centrifuge process is not on the agenda. After all, if we can create a centrifuge, the power consumption will be reduced from 20 to 50 times!

How does the centrifuge? It is arranged over elementary and similar to the old washing machine working in the «Spin / dryer.» In the sealed housing is rotating rotor. This rotor is supplied with gas (UF6). By centrifugal force, hundreds of thousands of times greater than Earth’s gravitational field, the gas begins to split into a «heavy» and «light» fractions. Light and heavy molecules begin grouped into different zones of the rotor, but not in the center and the perimeter, and the top and bottom. This occurs because of convection currents — a cover of the rotor is heated and there is a backflow of gas. At the top and at the bottom of the cylinder has two small tubes — intake. In the lower tube gets lean mixture in the top — a mixture with a higher concentration of atoms 235U. This mixture goes into the next centrifuge, and so on, until the concentration 235 st uranium reaches the desired value. The chain is called a cascade of centrifuges.

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Technical features. Well in the first rotation speed — the current generation of centrifuges it reaches 2,000 r / s (there is not even know what to compare … to 10 times faster than the turbine in aircraft engines)! And it works without stopping three decades! That is, Now rotate the centrifuge cascades included under Brezhnev! The Soviet Union is no more and they are all spinning and spinning. Is not difficult to calculate that in their work cycle rotor performs 2 000 000 000 000 (two trillion) revolutions. And what bearing it hold? Yes no! There is no bearings. The rotor itself consists of a plain top, at the bottom of his sturdy needle, based on corundum toe and the upper end is hanging in a vacuum, keeping the electromagnetic field. The needle is also not simple, made of conventional grand piano wire for strings, it is tempered by a very clever way (how — GT). Not hard to imagine that with such a breakneck speed, she centrifuge must not only be strong and heavy duty.

Recalls Joseph Academy Fridlyander: «Three times it is able to shoot. One day, as we have already received the Lenin Prize, there was a big accident, I came off the centrifuge cover. The pieces were scattered and destroyed other centrifuges. The radioactive cloud. I had to stop the whole line — kilometer plants! In Sredmash centrifuges commanded by Zverev, to the atomic project, he worked in the Office of Beria. General at the meeting said: «The situation is critical. Threatened by the defense of the country. If we do not quickly rectify the situation for you to repeat the 37th year.» And once the meeting closed. We then came up with a completely new technology with a fully isotropic uniform structure covers, but required a very complex installation. Since these are the cover and produced. No trouble no more. In Russia 3 enrichment plant, hundreds of thousands of centrifuges. «

In the photo: the tests of the first generation of centrifuges

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The rotor housing also initially had metal until replaced them did not come … CFRP. Lightweight and extra strong to break, it is an ideal material for a rotating cylinder.

Recalls CEO UEIP (2009-2012) Alexander Kurkin: «It got to the ridiculous. When tested and verified by a new, more «resourceful» generation of centrifuges, one of the staff did not wait for a full stop of the rotor, disconnected it from the stage and decided to move the hands on the stand. On instead of moving forward, if not resisted, he was with the cylinder in an embrace, began to move back. So we have seen for themselves that the earth rotates, and a gyroscope, a great power. «

Who invented it? Oh, it’s a mystery, steeped in mystery and suspense wrapped up. Then you and the German captives of physics, CIA officers SMERSH and even downed spy pilot Powers. A general principle of a gas centrifuge described in the late 19th century. Even at the dawn of the Atomic Project Engineer of the Special Design Bureau of the Kirov factory Viktor Sergeyev proposed centrifugal separation method, but first his colleagues did not approve of the idea. In parallel, on the creation of a special centrifuge separation SRI-5 in Sukhumi fought scientists from defeated Germany: Dr. Max Steenbeck, who worked in Hitler’s chief engineer Siemens, and a former mechanic «Luftwaffe», a graduate of the University of Vienna Gernot Zippe. In total, the group consisted of about 300 «taken out» of physicists.


Recalls General Director of «Centrotech St. Petersburg» SC «Rosatom» Alex Kaliteevskii: «Our experts have come to the conclusion that the German centrifuge is not suitable for industrial production. The phone was not Steenbeck transmission system partially enriched product to the next stage. It was proposed to cool the ends of the cover and freeze the gas, and then it thawed, to collect and bring to the next centrifuge. That is, the circuit inoperable. However, the project had some very interesting and unusual technical solutions. These «interesting and unusual solutions» have been linked with the results obtained by Soviet scientists, in particular the proposals Victor Sergeev. Relatively speaking, our compact centrifuge — a third of the fruit of German thought, and by two-thirds — of the Soviet. » By the way, when Sergeyev visited Abkhazia and expressed the same Steenbeck and Zippe his thoughts about the selection of uranium, Steenbeck and Zippe shrugged off them like unrealizable.

So what came up Sergeyev. A proposal Sergeyev was to create sampler gas as pitot tubes. But Dr. Steenbeck, who ate his teeth as he thought on this topic, showed categorical: «They will slow down the flow, to cause turbulence, and no separation will not!» After years of working on his memoirs, he regret it: «The idea is worthy of to come from us! But to me, it had not occurred … «. Later, once outside the USSR Steenbeck-machine no longer worked. But Gerontius Zippe before leaving for Germany had the opportunity to get acquainted with the prototype centrifuge Sergeyev and ingeniously simple principle of its work. Caught in the West, «a cunning Zippe,» as it is often called, has patented the design centrifuges under his own name (patent number 1,071,597 by 1957, pending in 13 countries). In 1957, he moved to the United States, Zippe built a working system, reproducing from memory prototype Sergeyev. And he called it, pay tribute, «Russian centrifuge» (see photo).

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By the way, Russian engineering thought manifested itself in many other cases. As an example, elemental emergency shutoff valve. There’s no sensors detekterov and electronic circuits. There is only a samovar tap that its petal frame for the cascade. If something goes wrong, and the centrifuge changes its position in space, he just turns around and closes the input line. It’s like the joke about the American pen and pencil Russian in space.


Today This week, this writer attended the landmark event — close observers of the Russian office of the Ministry of Energy under contract HEU-LEU. This deal (highly enriched uranium — low enriched uranium) was, and remains the largest agreement in the field of nuclear energy between Russia and America. Under the contract, the Russian nuclear engineers redesigned our 500 tons of weapons-grade (90%) of uranium fuel (4%) of HFCs for U.S. nuclear power plants. Revenues for the years 1993-2009 amounted to 8.8 billion U.S. dollars. It was the logical outcome of our technological breakthrough in the field of nuclear isotope separation made in the postwar years.

Photo: Cascades of gas centrifuges at one of the shops UEIP. There are around 100,000 units.

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Thanks to the centrifuges, we have received thousands of tons of relatively cheap, both military and commercial product. The nuclear industry is one of the few remaining (military aviation, space), where Russia holds indisputable superiority. One only foreign orders for the next ten years (2013 to 2022), a portfolio of «Rosatom» without contract HEU-LEU amounts to 69.3 billion dollars. In 2011, he passed for 50 billion …

In the photo storage containers with HFC UEIP.

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This is all I have going on: September 28, 1942 was accepted by the State Committee of Defense number 2352ss «On the organization of the uranium.» This date is considered the official start of the reference history of the nuclear industry in Russia. So, on the occasion of the nuclear industry!

Thank you for your attention.

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