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 (nuclear test)

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)

6 thoughts on “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”.”

  1. BrokenEye3

    Soviet engineering is nothing if not straightforward.

  2. VillageIdiot1235

    So, not a good method for making a drinking water reservoir?

  3. Dakens2021

    This was actually just a test detonation of three bombs to see if it was feasible to make a canal connecting the Pechora and Kama river systems. They decided it wasn’t feasible and would have taken hundreds of bombs to complete with the radioactivity spoiling the water from the project.

  4. ohdearitsrichardiii

    Back when cracked.com was a site with fun listicles, the had one with all the crazy crap the soviets did with all those nuclear devices they hoarded during the cold war. I think all of them were tried once, maybe twice before they said “ok, maybe not such a good idea”. But in russian

  5. keichler

    Peaceful nuclear explosions? Ohhhhhhhh

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