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University is honoring its distinguished alumnus, academician Ponomarev-Stepnoy


On December 5, MEPhI together with Rosenergoatom under the auspices of Rosatom State Corporation, has held a scientific seminar "Opportunities and realities of the use of nuclear energy" within the framework of the events dedicated to the 90th anniversary of academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences Nikolai Nikolaevich Ponomarev-Stepnoy.

It is considered that Russian nuclear industry was born in 1942, when the State Defense Committee of the USSR issued an order "On the organization of work on uranium”. An introductory report on the 76-year history of the nuclear industry was made by the Deputy Director of the INPhE MEPhI, Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Sciences Tikhomirov: "I would like to show how the fate of a person can intersect with the development of the whole industry and the whole country, so I will tell you about the life path of our hero of the day."

When Nikolai Ponomarev-Stepnoy was born, the neutron was not discovered yet, and of course it was nothing to say about the nuclear industry. So, in 1946, the future prominent scientist went to Moscow to enter ... Russian Academy of Theatre Arts. It didn't happen. He enrolled in the Moscow Power Engineering Institute. And when the best students were invited to the new Institute, which concentrated "atomic" students, Nikolai made his own choice in favor of the Moscow Mechanical Institute of Munition, from which originates MEPhI, and graduated from the University in 1952.

N.N. Ponomarev-Stepnoy passed all stages of the academic career, becoming Professor, Chief Editor of the journal "Nuclear energy", member-correspondent of the USSR Academy of Sciences, academician of the USSR. He participated in the development of an industrial nuclear aircraft, in the creation of the world's first reactor-converter "Chamomile" with a thermoelectric generator and a space nuclear power plant... "And it was at a time when a competition in the field of nuclear energy became noticeable, people around the world began to build nuclear reactors. It was a golden time of development of nuclear energy,” said the speaker.

Against a background of the rapid growth of nuclear energy in the country there were events that have still been giving pause for thought – the Chernobyl disaster, the collapse of the USSR. Many gave up, many left the industry, but it was not our hero of the day. Nikolay Nikolaevich reflects on the fundamental issues facing the industry: what to do and where to go. And he found a solution – it was necessary to consolidate the public, work with people to return former glory to the nuclear power and technologies. So N.N. Ponomarev-Stepnoy actually stood at the origins of the Nuclear society of the USSR, became the first President of the Nuclear society of Russia.

"He actually inspired the transformation of the media resources of the nuclear industry. And of course, when he moved to the position of a scientific adviser to the General Director of the Rosenergoatom, things began to improve. Energy industry was developing, reactors were being built, and it was the merit of our hero of the day. His energy inspires people around, his charisma makes us understand that everything is still ahead. Happy anniversary, dear Nikolai Nikolaevich!" G.V. Tikhomirov concluded his speech on such a solemn note.

The rector of MEPhI, Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, Professor, Academician of the Russian Academy of Education M.N. Strikhanov said welcome words to the guests and participants of the seminar and congratulations to N.N. Ponomarev-Stepnoy. "MEPhI is proud of its graduates. Among them are three Ministers of the nuclear industry. We are well aware that we are strong in close cooperation with the State Corporation Rosatom, Rosenergoatom, with all divisions, which allow us to really adapt the training of students to the real needs of the industry." Mikhail Nikolaevich noted that in such an epoch for the country time, when people created the atomic shield of the Motherland, created nuclear energy, the example of Nikolai Nikolaevich was an instructive example for contemporaries and all future generations.

Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences Nikolai Ponomarev-Stepnoy was awarded the order of MEPhI for long-term fruitful scientific and pedagogical activity, a significant contribution to the development and improvement of the training system for the nuclear industry.

The General Director of Rosenergoatom concern, Candidate of Technical Sciences A.Yu.Petrov proudly noted in his speech that Nikolai Nikolaevich performed creative and scientific activities in their organization and inspired not only the staff of Rosenergoatom, but also the entire industry. “This year we put into commercial operation two power units: at the Leningrad NPP-2 and Rostov NPP. The other day we successfully launched the reactor of the world's first floating power unit “Academician Lomonosov” in Murmansk,” he added as proof to his words.

Today there is a connection of generations between youth and experienced professionals such as Ponomarev-Stepnoy. "The concern is engaged in the construction of nuclear power plants in the country, and we set great tasks for the development abroad. In the coming years we will need more than eight thousand young professionals who will solve these tasks, and most of employees will be taken from our basic University – MEPhI", said Andrey Yuvenalevich.

In continuation MEPhI and Rosenergoatom Concern signed the cooperation agreement. It involves the development of comprehensive cooperation, taking into account the priorities for solving tasks in nuclear power development and its quality staffing. It also secures the status of MEPhI as the General partner of the Rosenergoatom Concern in the field of personnel training and the center of professional competences.

Activity of N.N. Ponomarev-Stepny and his contribution to the development of the nuclear industry is recognized worldwide. Professor of the Stanford University Siegfried Hecker sent a video message to the Organizing Committee of the seminar, in which he spoke about the contribution of the scientist to the development of international cooperation in the nuclear field. “I consider Nikolai Nikolayevich as a Renaissance man, one of the most innovative people in the world, who promoted nuclear energy and continues it today”. Siegfried Hecker shared his impressions of the first meeting with N.N. Ponomarev-Stepnoy in June 1994: "At that time I worked in the Los Alamos National laboratory, and Nikolai Nikolaevich was a Vice-President of the Kurchatov Institute. He was among the first who realized that the collapse of the Soviet Union had challenged nuclear safety and security in Russia. We worked together on the agreement and joined our efforts to ensure the safety of nuclear materials." According to Hecker, in 90 years the hero of the day still continues to direct his incredible energy into the realization of dreams of Vernadsky, Kapitsa and other great scientists.

Head of section "Energy" oampo RAS O. N. Tabor remembered how 61 years ago, met with the celebrant. Nikolai Nikolayevich then came to the Central Institute of aircraft engine building, where at that time began to develop two projects of nuclear aircraft – a closed-circuit aircraft and an open-circuit project with a reactor that replaced almost the combustion chamber in a gas turbine jet engine. Since then, colleagues interact and cooperate on a large number of issues.

The scientific part of the seminar was devoted to the key areas of nuclear energy in Russia, its development and plans for the future.

The official part of the seminar was followed by discussion of the key areas of nuclear energy in Russia, its development and plans for the future.

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