In the late 1950s, the Council of Ministers of the USSR decided to create nuclear weapons storages, which were to assemble weapons, store it, repair or issue if necessary. Kiziltashskaya Valley in Feodosiya was perfect for building one there due to the mountain chains surrounding it. These mountains were able to protect the weapons in case of a nuclear blast of ten megatons exploding at a short distance.
L. P. Beriya was appointed project manager. He was very careful in choosing the staff and personally visited many of the storages. He’s never been to Feodosiya though.
The construction began in 1951 when prisoners and best equipmet were brought here.
One can see just a big steel gate from the outside. If necessary, it could be camouflaged by spreading a tarpaulin which had the colour of the mountain.
The underground complex had an outer power supply and an autonomous diesel generators power supply from the inside. Each building had a climat control and a radiation control.
Dangerous load was transported by rails which are now stolen.
It is hard to imagine how dangerous and hazardous this work was. For exapmle, some workers had to check articles with neutron radiation manually. These articles were held in special boxes covered in paraffin, which were in their turn held in special safes.
The radiation level in storages with these safes was so high, that the tungsten filament would get burned out in just thirteen minutes because of the the neuron bombing. The maximum permissible time that a person could spend there was 43 seconds.
Every time, officers had to take a new bulb with them and while one of them was fixing the bulb, the other two were opening the safe to take the box out.
After that in a laboratory on a special table, they opened the box and put the contents (the radiation source) on a special glass with their hands to look at it through a special lens.
The source was a golden ball which consisted of two hemispheres connected with a joint. The officers’ main task was to weigh the ball and check the joint. All the work had to be done manually and the only protection was a couple of cotton gloves.
When the examination was over, the source was put back into the box, which was put into the safe, which was brought to the storage where the bulb had to be fixed again.
They tried to take turns to minimize the neutron irradiation.
One of the precautionary measures was ethyl alcohol.
It should be noted here that by the early sixties, unhealthy permanent neutron sources were replaced with pulsed neutron sources which had no negative effects.
About thirty thousand pieces of nuclear ammunition was located in four former union republics and now sovereign states: Russia, Belarus, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. Russia and the USA persuaded the presidents of the new states to give up the ownership of the nuclear weapons and recognize Russia as the USSR’s successor.