A.P. Aleksandrov (1903-1994)
Anatoliy Petrovich Aleksandrov was one of the Soviet`s leading nuclear scientists of the 1940`s and the father of aval nuclear propulsion.
Atomic research was underway in several countries before WW-II including the Soviet Union, where scientists are known to have been conducting research in this field as early as 1932.
Early in the war academicians Igor Vasilyevich Kurchatov and Anatoliy Petrovich Aleksandrov worked primarily on the protection of ships against magnetic mines at the Leningrad Physics-Technical Institute, subsequently, Kurchatov sent to Sevastopol and Aleksandrov to the Northern Fleet to work in the mine countermeasures area. Late in 1942 in 1942, however, they were reassigned to the development of nuclear weapons-at the time the Soviets were well aware to nuclear development in the US-the Manhattan Project, and Germany.
The US Navy had initiated a submarine nuclear propulsion program in 1939, which was dormant during World War II and resurrected in 1945. The traditional desire for underwater propulsion independent of oxygen combustion, coupled with the knowledge of atomic energy gained in the atomic bomb projects led to development of submarine nuclear propulsion in the US. A contract was awarded in 1951 for the construction of the world`s first nuclear-propelled submarine, the USS Nautilus (SSN-571). The submarine went on nuclear power for the first time on January 17th, 1955.
Soviet sources indicate that the initial work on nuclear propulsion began shortly after WW-II but, according to Soviet scientist Aleksandrov, "in 1945 it was Baria who imposed a ban on the idea of atomic ships: First the bomb, all else later. You see, back then we at the institute had begun an atomic plant for ships."
In 1947, B.M.Malinin, the dean of Soviet submarine designers, would write, "A submarine must become an underwater boat in the full meaning of the word. This means that it must spend the grater and overwhelming time of its life underwater, appearing on the surface of the sea only in exceptional circumstances."
Malinin, however, did not live to see the realization of an atomic submarine. One of his assistants Enginer Captain 1st Rank Vladimir Nikolayevich Peregudov, became the chief designer of the first Soviet nuclear submarine.
With Stalin`s death in 1953 the ban on open discussion of nuclear issues was lifted. Three more years of debates passed until the ruling presidium (politburo) approved new naval programs including the nuclear propulsion.
Several submarine projects started in the mid 1950`s. The first Soviet nuclear-propelled submarine was Project 627, given the NATO code November. The first November SSN was completed in 1958-thus lagged about four years behind her US counterpart.
The first commanding officer of that first soviet nuclear submarine, later named Leninsky Komsomol, was Captain 1st Rank L.G.Osipenko.
||Centenary birth Anatoli P. Alexandrov 1903-94,physicist-nuclear scientist