In 1950s the idea of creating the nuclear airplane, the long range strategic bomber powered on the power of atom was considered as a necessity by Soviet generals. At that time there was already built first Russian atomic ice breaker with its independent nuclear reactor on board.
So the plane seemed to be pretty real. To give you a little spoiler on this post - yes, they finally was to able to build a working plane with a nuclear reactor on board which was powering it during the flight. Interested? Let's see how it all looked like: