In the middle of the 20th century, a unique plant, strategically important for the Soviet Union, appeared in Siberia, which functioned underground. For a long time it was a classified object. What was produced on its territory during the Soviet era?
A real nuclear race began between the United States and the Soviet Union in the early 1950s. In the USSR, 2 plants specialized in uranium enrichment: one near Chelyabinsk, and the second near Tomsk. At the same time, the government of the Soviet state feared that in the event of the outbreak of hostilities, the enemy would first of all hit these two targets, which would deprive the country of the ability to produce the required element. Therefore, the country needed production that was invulnerable to a potential enemy.
1. Proposal made by Lavrenty Beria
L. Beria presented the problem to Stalin in writing and made a proposal to determine the location for the construction of the new plant. The document said that for the construction of the combine No. 815, in order to provide it with a shelter from an air attack, the most suitable place is the site, which is located on the river. Yenisei, fifty kilometers from Krasnoyarsk. The cost of construction will be 5, 2 billion rubles, which is associated with the excavation of rocks in large quantities and the need to place structures that allow to fix the vaults of structures.
Among the main advantages noted by Beria:
- range from enemy air bases;
The cost of construction increased significantly due to the fact that the plant had to be equipped underground. But in the future, the plant for aviation became completely invulnerable. Stalin agreed with the arguments presented to him and gave an order regarding the construction of this facility.
2. Initial stage of work
In 1950, in May, a forced labor camp called Granite was formed near the site where the facility was being built. Of course, prisoners have become the main human labor resource. But what is most interesting is that convicts from other Soviet camps also wanted to get here. If a person worked hard, then one day in prison was counted as three. The builders who did not belong to the category of prisoners were miners, youth, metro builders who arrived here from different parts of the vast country.
The construction site had no problems with financing either. As a result, all the work was carried out almost simultaneously: hollowing rocks, stretching power lines, communications, erecting a village. By the end of this year, approximately 30,000 people were employed in the construction. Construction was carried out 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Almost in the very center of the rock, a hall was being built, the height of which was 72 m. It was in it that nuclear reactors were supposed to stand, designed to produce plutonium in the future.
3. Unique plant
In 1958, in August, after eight years of hard work, the plant began to function. Now he had not only a number, but also a prefix to the name - mining and chemical. It has become practically a unique object of the USSR. By 1964, there were three reactors in this Siberian rock. The last of them, the newest, additionally performed other functions - it was a heat and power station for the city, which was a satellite of an underground plant.
Around the hall with the reactors was a granite layer 200 meters thick, which acted as a reliable defense against a nuclear strike. A railway led into the mountain. Traditional electric locomotives went along it to the object from the city railway station. Inside, the stations looked like subway stations. Therefore, the impression was created that you were in the subway, and not somewhere else.
4. A city for workers
It was for the employees of this top-secret taiga combine that a wonderful city was built, designed for one hundred thousand people. The city was fenced with barbed wire along the perimeter, and it was possible to enter it only with the appropriate pass. Its name is from 1956 Krasnoyarsk-26.
This settlement was known only in very narrow circles. The city's project was created by the best architects of Leningrad. This closed city was a "paradise" for Soviet citizens. There was practically no crime and excellent supply. As an addition, an NPO of Applied Mechanics was launched in Krasnoyarsk-26. It created the lion's share of satellites in the USSR.
5. A new stage in the life of the city
The city got its name in 1994 - Zheleznogorsk. Both the settlement itself and the plant remain closed-type facilities even now, despite the fact that the production of the main product - weapons-grade plutonium - was officially suspended many years ago.
The enterprise itself was redesigned, and now it is working on three high-tech projects:
- storage of fuel after working out in nuclear reactors;
At the exhibition entitled "Innovation and Development", which took place in 2012, the mill was included in the top 100 state-owned enterprises.
You will find out more interesting things by reading the article. What secrets did the closed cities of the USSR have that are not on the map?