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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

OKB Gidropress

OKB Gidropress [English = Hydropress] was established by the decree of Council of People’s Commissars of the USSR on January 28, 1946 and by the order of the People’s Commissar of the USSR heavy engineering on February 01, 1946. The Special Design Bureau for Hydropress Equipment Designs was created at the Podolsky Machine-Building Plant (abbreviated to Gidropress OKB). In the future, OKB Gidropress was renamed the Experimental Design Bureau Gidropress. The chief and chief designer of OKB was approved by B.M. Sholkovich.

The first project was the technical design of the first industrial horizontal water-cooled uranium-graphite reactor. The enterprise implemented a complex of design, theoretical, analytical, R&D and production activities in reactor development for nuclear power plants of various purpose with increased safety, reliability and efficiency, competitive both in Russia and abroad. Activities of OKB "GIDROPRESS" started with development of designs and equipment for a number of prototype research reactors.

The work was carried out in accordance with the decision of the Government of April 9, 1946. In parallel, three organizations took part in this work:

  1. Research Institute of Chemical Engineering under the direction of N.A. Dollezhal;
  2. OKB Gidropress under the direction of B.M. Sholkovich;
  3. State Design Institute No. 11 of the First Main Directorate under the Council of Ministers of the USSR.

Academician N. A. Dollezhal liked to repeat that intelligence did not always help the cause, but often misled scientists and engineers. In our conversations, he spoke in detail about how he came up with the idea of a “vertical” reactor: put all the equipment above the reactor, work from above, and not from the side, as the Americans did. For the construction of the first industrial uranium-graphite reactor for plant No. 817, a vertical version of the NIIkhimmash project was chosen under the leadership of N. A. Dollezhal. In February 1946, in the Southern Urals, on the shore of Lake Kyzyl-Tash, 13 km from the city of Kyshtym, the construction of plant No. 817 (subsequently Mayak Production Association) began. The city of Chelyabinsk-40 was built at the plant (later Chelyabinsk-65, since 1954 - the city of Ozersk).

N. A. Dollezhal was very proud that the option he had invented turned out to be much more effective than the American one. The great designer and scientist at first did not suspect that the "horizontal" version was also being developed, and Hydropress engineers did it. In an invisible competition to create a reactor for the production of plutonium, the team led by Dollezhal won. This was the only time that Gidropress was the second.

This was followed by the development of projects of an experimental heavy water reactor (physical start-up in 1949, stopped in 1986), research reactor MR (RFT) (physical start-up in 1952, stopped in 1962). At these facilities, the processes occurring during fission of nuclei were studied and their effect on structural materials and a cooling medium, the foundations of future nuclear power plants were laid.

In 1951, at the initiative of I.V. Kurchatov, a decision was made to build the world's first nuclear power plant (NPP). Obninsk was chosen as the site for the construction of the nuclear power plant. Work unfolded in a very short time with the active participation of many organizations. Significant contribution to the creation of the world's first nuclear power plant was made by OKB GIDROPRESS and ZiO. For the first time, a simple reliable steam generator (GHG) was created for power reactor plants, the main structural solutions of which were subsequently used in GHGs for various types of reactor plants. In addition to the GHG, all heat exchange equipment and pipelines of the first and second circuits were developed, the main heat exchange equipment was placed in the room. June 27, 1954 The world's first nuclear power plant was launched, opening the way for the peaceful use of nuclear fission energy, which marked the beginning of a new era in energy.

In 1955, at OKB Gidropress, on the terms of reference of the scientific project manager, Academician I.V. Kurchatov began the development of the first water-cooled water reactor (VVER) in the Soviet Union: a VVER-1 project was created for the first unit of the Novovoronezh NPP with a capacity of 210 MW (e). The development of VVER-1 was carried out in difficult conditions due to the lack of experience in designing a plant of this type and sufficient information on the results of foreign developments. On August 8, 1955, the preliminary design of the first VVER was approved. OKB Gidropress was entrusted with the development of projects for the VVER-1 reactor and steam generators, and Podolsky Plant named after Ordzhonikidze - their manufacture.

In the 1960s OKB “GIDROPRESS” directed its activities mainly to development of the following designs:

  • lead-bismuth cooled reactors for nuclear submarines (later on it is a SVBR reactor for civil use)
  • water-cooled water-moderated power reactors (VVER) for nuclear power plants
  • equipment for sodium-cooled fast reactors

Today the company is focused mainly on elaboration of VVER rector plant designs of a wide power range from 300 to 1700 MW. The VVER reactor plants constructed according to the OKB “GIDROPRESS” designs are operated at 21 nuclear power plants in Russia, Ukraine, Armenia, Finland, Bulgaria, Hungary, Czechia, Slovakia, China and Iran. They are 22 VVER-440 units of 10 120 MW total power, and 36 VVER-1000 units of 32 000 MW total power to be replenished in the near future with newly constructed VVER-1000 units. Activities are under way on service life extension of the first generation reactor equipment.

Today OKB “GIDROPRESS” is the only company in the world whose reactor plant designs are implemented simultaneously at five units abroad: Kudankulam NPP in India, Tianwan NPP in China. Each of the designs is unique, and each of the nuclear power plants has its own peculiarities. All designs have the following common features: high quality standards of work and maximum requirements for the safety level.

A long-term activity program (2009-2015) of the State Atomic Energy Corporation “Rosatom” approved by the RF government in September 2008 provides for construction and commissioning of new commercial NPP units with an advanced VVER-1200 reactor plant. Today the work at this design is a priority one. The design is being developed on the basis of VVER technology proved by operational experience. Also the long-term program determines the activities on fast reactor development. The work on SVBR-100 and SVBR-10 multipurpose fast reactors, cooled by lead-bismuth, and steam generators for sodium-cooled fast reactor plants will be continued in this direction.

Development of different versions of design solutions and a check of operability and reliability of the designed units and equipment are performed under the conditions being close to the full-scale ones using experimental facilities of the enterprise. An accredited test center works successfully. Certificate of accreditation confirms the technical competence and the right of the enterprise to perform certification tests.

Using available production facilities, commercial manufacturing of the separate highly producible equipment for nuclear power plants has been mastered, and the test-bench equipment, models, units and products for tests as well as specialized systems of preoperational measurements and in-service inspection are being manufactured.

The enterprise is a coeval with the nuclear industry and has contributed greatly to its development. OKB “GIDROPRESS” has been awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labour and the Order of Labour of Czechoslovakia for the designed and introduced reactor plants. A lot of the company’s experts were awarded governmental awards and were the winners of Lenin and State Prizes and the Council of Ministers and RF Government Prizes, tens of employees were awarded the rank of “Honoured Designer of Russia”. A lot of specialists have been conferred the degree of Doctor of Science and Economy. V.V. Stekolnikov who was the Chief Designer-Head of OKB “Gidropress” from 1962 to 1992 was awarded the Star of the Hero of Socialist Labour.

Podolsk is a city of some 200,000 residents standing on the banks of the Pakhra River, about 37 km from the center of Moscow, 15 km from the Moscow Ring Road. It is one of the largest satellite cities of Moscow, a large industrial and cultural center of Moskovskaya oblast. There are over 50 large and medium-sized industrial enterprises on the territory of the city. Besides, Podolsk is an important scientific center. There are several research institutions engaged mainly in nuclear machine-building and nuclear research.

In 1900, the American company Singer founded a mechanical plant in Podolsk for assembling sewing machines and manufacturing parts for them. It was to him that the city owed its economic growth at the beginning of the 20th century. The Zinger plant has become one of the city-forming enterprises of Podolsk.

From the very beginning of the war, Podolsk became an outpost on the southern approaches to the capital. Podolsk land raised 42 Heroes of the Soviet Union, four full holders of the orders of Glory. For courage and heroism shown at the front and in the rear, more than 10 thousand people were awarded orders and medals of the state. During the war years, the Central Women's School of Sniper Training was located on the territory of the city. Six of her pupils were awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union.

In the postwar period, Podolsk continued to work for the country's defense. Among the well-known enterprises of the defense complex are OKB Gidropress, PNITI, Podolsky Electromechanical Plant, TsNIITOCHMash, KBAL, and Klimovsky stamping plant. Today, on the site of the former Kuznechiki airfield, there is a large microdistrict of Podolsk, built by the Russian Ministry of Defense for families of military personnel.

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Page last modified: 10-08-2019 19:09:08 ZULU