Soviet building projects used 116 nuclear blasts Long-term effects weren’t studied, Russians now say – by Kathy Lally (Baltimore Sun – November 2, 1994)

PLEASE NOTE – This article was published in 1994. However, it is ASTONISHING that nuclear bombs were used in mining and infrastructure projects and I had to post.

MOSCOW — The Soviet Union, consumed by a mania for gigantic development, routinely used nuclear blasts in construction and mining projects from 1965 to 1988, never bothering to calculate the cost to people or environment. “They never studied the long-term effects,” said Boris N. Golubov, a Russian scientist leading an inquiry into the explosions. “And we’re only starting to feel them now.”

And in its haste to develop its vast resources at all costs, Dr. Golubov said, the Soviet Union set off 116 nuclear explosions for technical purposes. The most modest of them was equivalent to the explosion at Hiroshima. A large number were five to 10 times more powerful, and one was 165 times more powerful.

Dr. Golubov said there was simply no thought given to the effect on people and the environment. Though the blasts were carefully controlled at the time of the explosion, they were quickly forgotten, he said. No one studied their impact.

The explosions were monitored in the rest of the world — their force could hardly have gone undetected — but most Soviet scientists knew of them only by rumor until 1990, when the old controls on information began to weaken. The average person had no idea that there was any danger, and there was no debate about the wisdom of this course.

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