Arzamas-16, currently Sarov, was established on April 13, 1946 as a home to the Design Bureau No. 11 (KB-11), currently the Russian Federal Nuclear Center – the All-Russian Scientific and Research Institute of Experimental Physics (VNIIEF, also known as Arzamas-16), Russia first nuclear weapons design center. It is the unnamed "Installation" of Nobel Peace Laureate Andre Sakharov's biography, responsible for the design of the first Soviet atomic and hydrogen bombs. It was inititally given several provisional names, such as Base 112, Site 550 or simply the "Site".
The KB-11 Design Bureau (now the world-renowned RFYaTs-VNIIEF) was organized in the Gorky (now Nizhni Novgorod) Region. KB-11, headed by its first director Pavel Zernov and Yuly Khariton who was its chief designer and scientific supervisor for many years, made a decisive contribution to the elimination of US nuclear armament monopoly. This center developed and manufactured the first Soviet atomic bomb RDS-1 detonated in 1949 and the first Soviet thermonuclear charge RDS-6S (academician Sakharov’s brainchild) successfully tested in 1953.
Arzamas-16 is often referred to as the Russian Los Alamos. Some of its residents even refer to its alboratory as Los Arzamas in recognition of its close similarity to Los Alamos. In December, 1993, the Los Alamos County Council agreed to invite Sarov to be a Sister City.
At present, Arzamas-16 is a home to two nuclear weapons facilities: the VNIIEF design institute and the Avangard serial warhead assembly/disassembly facility. The population of Arzamas-16 is approximately 83,000. Of them 20,000 work at the institute and 10,000 at the Avangard plant.