The Soviet Union had an extensive atomic energy program. The program included the use of isotopes as tracers for agricultural research and as ionizing sources for food irradiation, extensive applications in medicine, so-called peaceful nuclear explosions, and an ambitious effort to build scores of reactors to produce electrical energy. Under the regime of Josef Stalin, the military side of atomic energy was significantly more developed than its civilian application. Scientists and workers were gathered into closed cities to build the first Soviet atomic bomb, detonated in 1949, and to design and assemble tens of thousands of nuclear warheads. It is not certain what percentage of the nuclear program was civilian and what percentage was military, but it is clear that the military needs predominated during the Cold War. It is also difficult to draw a line between military and civilian programs. Nikita Khrushchev and Leonid Brezhnev made the peaceful atom a centerpiece of their economic development programs. The peaceful atom found expression in art and music, on stamps and lapel pins, and even in literary works. For instance, the Exhibition of the Achievements of the Socialist Economy (VDNKh) had a large hall devoted to atomic energy. However, even when the technology was ostensibly dedicated to peaceful goals, there were often military interests at stake as well. For example, Soviet scientists conducted 120 peaceful nuclear explosions (PNEs) for excavation, dam construction, and other purposes that were connected with the 1963 ban against atmospheric testing of nuclear devices.


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Atomic energy will prove useful in agriculture, transport, medicine, etc. In fact atomic energy will bring about a revolution in the world and greatly raise the standard of living of mankind. India, too, is installing these atomic reactors and the time is not far when atomic energy will practically replace all other Sources of power for running our machines. The method of producing atomic energy has been mastered and our government is going to install a number of reactors for producing atomic energy.
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