Nuclear Test in Totskoye in 1954
|written and translated by Dietrich
In 1954 a nuclear bomb test took
place on the training area near Totskoye, the explosion location lay
only 50-60 km away from Neu Samara. On the one hand, further
experiences with atomic bomb tests should be collected, in addition, an
army practise should be carried out at the same moment, to train the
soldiers for a tactical nuclear attac. At that time the army has still
imagined, that the atomic bombs could be used as a tactical weapon,
like the artillery. After the occurred atomic bomb explosion the area
should be taken by the soldiers. At that time the Americans have also
carried out several tests of this kind.
Altogether 45,000 soldiers from different army parts have taken part
in the exercise. In addition there came another 600 tanks, 500 cannons
and mine throwers, 320 airplanes and 6000 automobiles. As important
personalities marshals G.K. Zhukov, A.M. Vasslevskij, K.K.
Konew observed the test, further there were the secretary general
of the Communist Party 1953–64 Nikita Khrushchev, secretary of defense
N.A. Bulganin and the nuclear
scientist I.V. Kurtchatov present.
The nuclear test area should be so selected, that it is similar to the
prospective deployment place in Germany, i.e. it should be hilly,
wooded landscape. The previous tests were mostly carried out in a
desert area near Semipalatinsk (today Kazakhstan). After "careful"
investigation the military training area in Totskoye has been selected.
This was already used since the end of the 18th century as a military
camp and field exercise area.
After preparations of several days, about 380 km of protection ditches
were dug, the exercise should take place on the 14th of
September, 1954. Although there was in the beginning almost calm, the
wind in northeast direction became stronger and stronger. However, it
was still within the scope of the permissible as the carrier airplane
started. At 9.00 o'clock the wind reached the speed of 20 m/s. At 9.33
o'clock the atomic bomb was thrown down from a height of 8,000 m and
was detonated about 45 seconds later at a height of 350 m. The used
bomb had a power of 40 kilotons TNT (possibly 2-3 fold of the
Hiroshima bomb). 5 minutes after the explosion the artillery and
airplanes started to bomb the explosion place. Then after the
demarcation of the radioactive zones, about 3 hours after the
explosion, the soldiers marched on armoured vehicles from two sides,
they should practice the taking of the hostile area after the atomic
On a distance of 300 ms of the epicenter the ground completely burned
out. Also in the other distance almost only stumps have been left from
the trees. Within a radius of about 5 kms lying villages Makhovka,
Olkhovka and Yelshanka burned out(the inhabitants were evacuated
Almost all soldiers, who had taken part in the exercise, had to carry
bad health effects. Many have died later of cancer. Those, which had
gotten quite strong dose, died already in the military camp in Totskoye
of the radiation sickness.
Now to the effects on the Neu Samara settlement. As already mentioned a
strong wind was there before the explosion, this blew after the
explosion the fissure products
and the cloud of dust, climbed up till a height of 12-15 km, away from
the explosion place. A big part of the
radioactive material has come down in an area of about 210 km length.
The axis of this area ran possibly from the village
Makhowka trough Yashkino and Starobogdanovka in the Krasnogvardeyskiy
Rayon (district), and then trough Rozhdestvenka in the Alexandrovskij
rest has been scattered about a wide area: even to Krasnosyarsk and
Novosibirsk, thousands kilometers away from the explosion.
If one looks at it, on the map of the Neu Samara settlement, the in
south and east lying villages must be mostly affected by the
radioactive precipitation, so Kuterlja, Kaltan, Klinok, Jugowka,
Klinok and Krassikowo. However, in the end all villages must have
gotten some of it, because the radioactive dust was blown away later by
the wind to other places also. An eyewitness from Kuterlja reports:
all women of our village were
occupied with the watermelon harvest
on the field, suddenly the eyes were blinded by a bright light for one
moment. A vague bang resounded and all women turn their eyes to the
west. A big, black mushroom cloud
rose up there, high up to the
atomic bomb, the atomic bomb!" all shouted in a mess. A strong wind
sheets, branches, maps, scraps about the watermelon field. We
marvelled all at the big miracle which eyewitnesses we were now.
To a big oak leaf I wanted to chase after, at that
time, because there were no
oaks in our area. "Let this lie, we don't know what it is soiled with!"
called Helene Schröder to me. I obeyed her advice.The high
column disappeared bit by bit and we began to work again.
(from "New Samara am Tock", "Kuterlja 1892-1992 - reminiscenses on
selected deceased on the cemetery" by Katharina
Nachtigal, nee Unger, abridged by me). One could hear and see the
at a distance of about 50 km. The mention of the
oak leaves is noteworthy also, at the explosion place there grew many
oaks, the sheets must come from there.
The health effects on the affected villagers have been never
examined by the officials. However, one knows that many have
fallen ill with cancer later. So the already mentioned Katharina
Nachtigal writes also that many people from Kuterlja have died of
as a result of this nuclear test. In 1997 a book about the effects of
the atomic bomb explosion in Totskoye on
the environment and the people in the Orenburg Oblast (province) was
of the government independent authors have carried out
an investigation with different methods in the beginning of the 90-s.
They have ascertained a raised
installment of cancer illnesses in the area affected by the radioactive
precipitation. Further one can go out from a damage of the genotype,
what will affect on the descendants.