Stalin’s old Bomb lab still limps along

The original nuclear laboratories, where captive German scientists worked to create atomic bombs, are still in operation in Abkhazia in Georgia. here.

The Sukhumi Institute still exists, in a state of limbo. Limping along under semi-siege in Abkhazia, a breakaway region of Georgia whose existence the rest of the world does not recognize, its Cold War past has been all but forgotten.

….Once, around 250 German specialists lived here with their families and built centrifuges to separate uranium isotopes. Now a money-making sideline for the few scientists who keep the institute’s research going is designing household heaters.

Deputy director Vladimir Kunitsky does have ambitious hopes for the institute, which was nearly wrecked by the separatist war that engulfed this region on the shores of the Black Sea after the Soviet Union collapsed.

He would like to turn part of the former bomb laboratory into a sanatorium, combining cutting-edge treatments using radioactive sources and a beautiful location a short walk from the Black Sea.


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