Did you know in January 1965, Russia used a nuclear bomb to create a reservoir but ended up with a radioactive water supply known as the Atomic Lake?
Well, footage released by the Russian Defense Ministry shows a huge mushroom cloud forming after the underground Soviet nuke was detonated at Chagan, on the edge of the Semipalatinsk Test Site in Kazakhstan.
The clip shows how the 140 kiloton device was placed in a 584ft-deep hole in the dry bed of the Chagan River and how the blast created a 1312ft-wide 328ft-deep crater with a lip height of 65 to 125ft before a channel was cut through to allow a nearby river to fill the reservoir.
The daily Mail says Lake Chagan still exists today but is still radioactive and has been dubbed the ‘Atomic Lake’:
“The detonation had been designed to test the suitability of nuclear explosions for creating reservoirs. It was carried out under the banner of ‘Nuclear Explosions for the National Economy’ which aimed to find peaceful uses for nuclear devices. It was also the largest detonation carried out.”
The Soviets were proud of Lake Chagan at the time of its creation and the Minister of the Medium Machine Building Ministry can even be seen taking a dip in the lake near the end of the footage. Water was also used to feed cattle in the area.
Lake Chagan was the first test but the Soviet Union continued this policy until 1989 by which stage at least 156 nuclear tests were conducted.