Semipalatinsk Test Site


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Semipalatinsk Test Site,

Soviet nuclear testing site, c.6,950 sq mi (18,000 sq km), NE Kazakhstan, near the city of Kurchatov and some 90 mi (150 km) W of Semey (formerly Semipalatinsk). Between 1949 and 1991 this area of dry steppe was the USSR's primary nuclear testing site. More than 100 tests were conducted aboveground, with significant radioactive fallout on nearby populations, until atmospheric tests were banned in 1963; more than 300 underground tests were then conducted in tunnels in the Degelen Mts. The closing of the site, collapse of the USSR, and withdrawal of Russian forces from it left a few hundred Kazakh soldiers guarding it. Large areas contaminated with plutonium and enriched uranium were eventually covered over by steel-reinforced concrete, and by 2000 most tunnels had been sealed. Many tunnels on the unsecured site were reopened by 2004 by scavengers, however, prompting concerns that radioactive material could fall into the hands of terrorists. The United States, Russia, and Kazakhstan have since cooperated to secure and clean the site.
References in periodicals archive ?
Nazarbayev "voluntarily" closed down the Soviet Union's Semipalatinsk Test Site in northern Kazakhstan and gave up the world's fourth largest nuclear weapons arsenal it inherited following the collapse of the USSR.
Today marks a quarter of a century since the closure of the Semipalatinsk test site in Kazakhstan, ground zero for more than 450 nuclear tests.
According to Speaker of the Kazakh Senate Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the 25th anniversary since the closure of the Semipalatinsk Test Site is a date of global significance.
Kazakhstan showed leadership when it renounced its nuclear weapons in 1993 and closed the Semipalatinsk Test Site (STS).
Having been affected by nuclear tests which were conducted at the Semipalatinsk test site, Kazakhstan voluntarily renounced the possession of nuclear weapons in 1992.
Fittingly, the town is named after Soviet nuclear physicist Igor Kurchatov and was once the town was once the centre of operations for the adjoining Semipalatinsk Test Site.
Even before Kazakhstan became a fully independent country, our leader, and now President, Nursultan Nazarbayev shut down the Semipalatinsk test site in 1991 in defiance of then Soviet government in Moscow.
The Semipalatinsk Test Site (STS or Semipalatinsk-21), also known as "The Polygon", was the primary testing venue for the Soviet Union's nuclear weapons.
In a span of 40 years, 450 tests which affected half a million people have been carried out at the Semipalatinsk test site.
In 40 years, 450 tests which affected half a million people were carried out at the Semipalatinsk test site.
Sultanmurat said Nazarbayev was one of the strongest candidates to get the Nobel Peace Prize thanks to his efforts for nuclear disarmament right after Kazakhstan's gaining independence, his closing down the Semipalatinsk Test Site (the primary testing venue for the Soviet Union's nuclear weapons) and the annual symposiums he organized on inter-religious tolerance.
That is why, on August 29, 1991, I did not waver to issue a decree shutting down the Semipalatinsk test site.