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Kazakhstan renounced nuclear legacy in spite of tough opposition of the USSR military headquarters: President Nazarbayev

29 august 2012, 15:48
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A scale replica of the nuclear test site is seen in a museum in Kurchatov, former command centre of the Semipalatinsk testing range. ©REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov
A scale replica of the nuclear test site is seen in a museum in Kurchatov, former command centre of the Semipalatinsk testing range. ©REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov
Kazakhstan voluntarily renounced its nuclear legacy in spite of tough opposition on the part of the USSR military industry heads, Newskaz.ru reports, citing President Nazarbayev as saying August 29.

“Back then and nowadays this courageous step taken by Kazakhstan is downplayed. Some have argued that the renunciation was conditioned upon other factors such as Kazakhstan’s alleged inability to maintain the nuclear arsenal”, he said at a major anti-nuclear conference in Astana.

President Nazarbayev assured that following the collapse of the USSR Kazakhstan did have experts and all the infrastructure to keep on the military nuclear projects.

“It was an act of political will. Kazakhstan unreservedly renounced being part of the nuclear club of nations. Regardless of the tough opposition on the part of the then USSR military industry leadership I signed a decree to close down the Semipalatinsk-based nuclear testing site. August 29 was the starting point for the nuclear-free Central Asia”, President emphasized.

Head of Kazakhstan stressed that Kazakhstan had voluntarily renounced the 4th largest nuclear arsenal in the world inherited from the USSR.

“These were over 100 ballistic missiles with 1200 warheads capable to hit any point of the world”, he said.

The Semipalatinsk Testing Site was the primary testing venue for the Soviet Union's nuclear weapons. It is located on the steppe in northeast Kazakhstan. The site was selected in 1947 by Lavrentiy Beria, political head of the Soviet atomic bomb project. Over one million Kazakhs were exposed to the radiation resulting from 456 Soviet nuclear tests at Semipalatinsk from 1949 to 1989. The site was officially closed on August 29, 1991.

August 29th is International Day against Nuclear Tests. The Day was suggested by Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev at the 64th session of the United Nations General Assembly and was unanimously adopted in a resolution dated December 2009.

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