Bohr's Opinion and the Technical Council of the Special Committee
Eager to confirm the truth about the American nuclear program's progress, the Soviet atomic-project directors ordered Ya. P. Terletskii to question Niels Bohr as to whether or not reports of a U.S.-built superbomb in the making were true. Bohr commented that if it were true, the bomb was either of a bigger weight than a regular atomic bomb-possible, but unreasonable since the regular atomic bomb was already quite destructive-or it was made of a different substance, which he did not believe to be true.
Although the Soviet directors' worries about a U.S. superbomb were not assuaged by Bohr's comments, they were galvanized in believing that their focus at the time should be on creating an atomic bomb, not a hydrogen bomb. Still, Kurchatov recruited several prominent scientists to research the feasibility of energy release from lighter elements. Their findings, which were presented at a meeting of the Technical Council of the Special Committee on December 17, 1945, were based on the notion of triggering a nuclear detonation in a deuterium cylinder through the implementation of a nonequilibrium combustion engine. After the meeting, a resolution was passed concerning only measurements of the reaction cross sections of light nuclei, but did not lead to any practical work on the superbomb. During 1946 and 1947, Soviet theoretical investigations on the subject continued, in conjunction with incoming intelligence reports about the U.S.'s superbomb activities.