His name says little to less inquisitive contemporaries, and that’s unfortunate:
Kirill Ivanovich belongs to the wonderful team of nuclear physicists who forged the Soviet nuclear shield.
Vladimir Gubarev, the famous popularizer of science, figuratively called Shcholkin “the Keeper of the Bomb”: it was Kirill Ivanovich who signed up to receive the first Soviet atomic bomb RDS-1 from the assembly shop. Colleagues then joked: “Where did you go with the bomb you signed off for?” Well, he did not hide it: at the Semipalatinsk test site, it was Shcholkin who inserted the initiating charge into RDS-1 and it was him who pressed the “Start” button on the console on August 28, 1949. Among the members of the team, it was Shcholkin who was awarded his first (out of three) Hero of Socialist Labor title and received the first of three Stalin Prizes for that test. And it was Kirill Ivanovich who planned to establish a new scientific institute and the future closed city of Chelyabinsk-70, now known as Snezhinsk. These plans came to fruition and Shcholkin became the first scientific director and chief designer of the institute. There, under his leadership, the first thermonuclear charge adopted by the Soviet Army was developed and tested. For this Kirill Ivanovich was awarded the Lenin Prize.
The institute in Snezhinsk was not named in honor of Shcholkin, rather, his name was given to a on the shore of the Sea of Azov in Crimea where the construction of the Crimean nuclear power plant was once planned.