The Global Energy Prize laureate 2004

Unique reactors developed by Fyodor Mitenkov operate underwater and above ground


Since childhood, Soviet people used to be proud of Lenin icebreaker, which was not just the first nuclear icebreaker, but also a symbol of scientific and technological achievements of the Soviet Union. In those years, newspapers with millions of copies wrote about the construction of a unique up-to-date nuclear power plant in the Krasnoyarsk Territory. The cinema theaters demonstrated movies about submariners and deep-sea trades. Everyone spoke about the “peaceful atom” without going into special details. Fyodor Mitenkov was directly involved in its creation. Lifelong, he worked at a closed enterprise in a closed city, and his name was a secret. In 1990s, when the formerly secret documents became unclassified, such projects and solutions accompanied by representatives of the company began to appear in public, including abroad. Surprisingly, it was not the technology that caused the greatest interest of specialists visiting public events. They were mostly curious about legendary Fyodor Mitenkov – the formerly ultra-secret general designer of marine nuclear installations, fast neutron reactors, nuclear heat supply units and other nuclear facilities.  No matter how funny he wrote about this period half a century later, just imagine a poor family, a serious illness and the hard post-war years. However, at the university he met with a teacher: talented and fascinating lectures delivered by Professor Alexander Davydovich Stepukhovich attracted students. The professor specialized in chemical physics, and he suggested that Fyodor Mitenkov after graduating from the university should enter his postgraduate course. At that time, science was the one and only dream for Fyodor. However, some strange obstacles and delays happened with postgraduate courses. Fyodor passed the entrance exams, published several scientific articles, but for some reason, administration postponed official enrollment several times. At that time, he did not know yet that he was at one of the main road junctions of his life, and somebody else had already made the choice for him without asking him, no matter whether such voluntary-compulsory “choice without choice” was fair or not.

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