In 1965 the Soviet Union detonated a nuclear device near the Chagan river to create an artificial lake with a volume of about 10 million cubic metres under it’s Nuclear Explosions for the National Economy program. To date the lake is slightly radioactive and is nicknamed “the atomic lake”.
Chagan was the first and largest of the 124 detonations in the Nuclear Explosions for the National Economy program, designed to produce peaceful nuclear explosions (PNEs) for earth-moving purposes. The concept of using PNEs to create artificial lakes, harbors and canals was modeled after a United States program, Project Plowshare, which conducted the first peaceful nuclear explosion (the 104 kt Sedan shallow cratering test) at the Nevada Test Site in July 1962.
Described as a “near clone” of the Sedan shot, Chagan’s yield was the equivalent of 140 kilotons of TNT and sought to produce a large conical crater suitable for a lake. The site was a dry bed of the Chagan River (tributary of Irtysh River) at the edge of the Semipalatinsk T… Continue Reading (2 minute read)