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Nikolay Dollezhal
Born 27 October [O.S. 15 October] 1899
Zaporizhia Oblast, Russian Empire, Present-day Ukraine
Died 20 November 2000(2000-11-20) (aged 101)
Moscow, Russia
Nationality Soviet
Ethnicity Russian Jewish
Citizenship Soviet Union
Alma mater Bauman Moscow State Technical University
Known for Soviet atomic bomb project
Founder of the RBMK type nuclear reactor
nuclear marine propulsion
Awards Order of Merit for the Fatherland
Hero of Socialist Labour

Nikolay Antonovich Dollezhal (Russian: Николай Антонович Доллежа́ль; 27 October [O.S. 15 October] 1899 – 20 November 2000[1])[2] was a Soviet mechanical engineer, a key figure in Soviet atomic bomb project and chief designer of nuclear reactors from the first plutonium production reactor to the RBMK.

Born in Omelnik, Zaporizhia Oblast, Dollezhal graduated MVTU in 1923.[3] Until 1930, he worked in various design bureaus, but after a tour of Europe in 1929 he was arrested and spent a year and a half in prison, before being acquitted in January 1932. In 1932-1943 he headed important manufacturing plants in Kiev, Leningrad and Sverdlovsk.

In 1943, Dollezhal was appointed to lead the new Institute of Chemical Machinery in Moscow. In 1946, the Institute was assigned to the Soviet atomic project; his first reactors, graphite moderated types A and AI, produced Soviet plutonium used in Joe 1 nuclear test of 1949 and subsequent nuclear weapons deployment. After 1950, Dollezhal focused on nuclear marine propulsion. His first proposal, Type AM, was not practical for marine uses but became the core of the first nuclear power plant in Obninsk, commissioned in 1954. In the same year, he produced a viable draft of a light water submarine reactor.

Dollezhal pioneered the concept of the pressurized water reactor, which led to numerous military and VVER-type civilian designs. In 1957 Dollezhal Institute launched their first dual-use (civilian energy and weapons-grade plutonium) powerplant, Type EI, and seven years later, the first truly industrial Beloyarsk Nuclear Power Station. All subsequent Soviet reactors (VVER, RBMK) also originated from his firm.

Honours and awards


Further reading

  • Paul R. Josephson (2005). Red Atom: Russia's Nuclear Power Program from Stalin to Today. University of Pittsburgh Pre. esp. pp. 20–25. ISBN 978-0-8229-7847-3. 

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