Institute of Atomic Energy

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Institute of Atomic Energy


(full name, I. V. Kurchatov Institute of Atomic Energy), of the State Committee on the Use of Atomic Energy in the USSR, established in Moscow in 1943 (known until 1955 as the Second Laboratory of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR). I. V. Kurchatov founded the institute and was its first director (until Feb. 7, 1960). After his death, the academician A. P. Aleksandrov became the director. A group of eminent scientists work at the Institute of Atomic Energy, among them academicians A. P. Aleksandrov, L. A. Artsimovich, E. K. Zavoiskii, I. K. Kikoin, M. A. Leontovich, A. B. Migdal, and M. D. Millionshchikov of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. Corresponding Members of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR E. P. Velikhov, 1.1. Gurevich, B. B. Kadomtsev, and P. E. Spivak also work at the institute.

The Institute of Atomic Energy has solved physical problems connected with the use of nuclear energy—for example, it conducted the first fission chain reaction in Europe on uranium in a uranographite boiler (Dec. 25, 1946), it developed the theory of heterogeneous nuclear reactors, it developed methods for separating isotopes, it measured nuclear constants vital to the development of chain reactions, and it solved a series of radiochemical problems. After the successful solution of some problems connected with strengthening the defense of the Soviet state, the Institute of Atomic Energy concentrated its efforts on nuclear power engineering and fundamental scientific problems. The institute has planned and built the majority of research and power atomic reactors in the USSR and other socialist countries, as well as the reactor for the icebreaker Lenin. It is the center for research on thermonuclear reactions and the physics of plasma in the USSR, and it conducts a wide program of research in nuclear physics and solid-state physics. It has worked on MHD-generators (magnetohydrodynamic generators) and other methods of converting heat directly into electric energy. The department of molecular biology is one of the most prominent in the USSR.

The Institute of Atomic Energy is equipped with the most modern instruments. It operates the first reactor F-l in Europe; the MR uranium-beryllium-graphite reactor on 40 megawatts and having a neutron flow up to 8 x 1014cm-2sec-1; the WR-2 and IRT-M hydrogen reactors on 2.5 and 5.0 megawatts respectively; an OR reactor with organic heat carrier on 0.3 megawatts; a unique cyclotron with a regulating energy which accelerates protons (from 6 to 17 MeV [million electron volts]); neutrons, He3, Li2+, Li3+ (the cyclotron also works in a spectrometric setup of neutrons from 0.5 to 25 MeV); four electrostatic generators attaining 7 MeV; electromagnetic, separators of stable isotopes (the institute houses a collection of isotopes separated in the USSR); and large thermonuclear experimental apparatus. The institute has powerful cryogenic apparatus for obtaining liquid nitrogen, neon, and helium; a ramified electric network system; and auxiliary technical subdivisions.

The institute has spawned independent institutions such as the Radiotechnologic Institute (Moscow), the Laboratory for Nuclear Problems and Laboratory for Nuclear Reactions of the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (Dubna), and the Institute for Nuclear Physics of the Siberian Division of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR (Novosibirsk).

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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