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President Nazarbayev thanks Russian and US Presidents for assistance in the clean-up at the Semipalatinsk nuclear testing site

27 марта 2012, 11:59
President Nazarbayev. By Daniyal Okassov ©
President Nazarbayev. By Daniyal Okassov ©
At the 2012 Seoul Nuclear Security Summit Kazakhstan’s President Nursultan Nazarbayev expressed his gratitude to the Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and the US President Barack Obama for their nations’ assistance in the clean-up at the Semipalatinsk nuclear testing site.

“It is a well-known fact the Semipalatinsk nuclear testing site was the largest ever; it accommodated about 500 nuclear tests, including 70 carried out in the atmosphere”, RIA Novosti quoted President Nazarbayev as saying to journalists.

He emphasized that the testing site was closed with his first decree signed in the capacity of the country’s President 20 years.

“In partnership with Russia and the USA we have been working to liquidate repercussions of the tests at the testing site since 2004. 3 000 square kilometers have been rehabilitated, more land needs to be recovered”, the President said adding that 1.5 million people had been affected by the radiation.

The Semipalatinsk Test Site was the primary testing venue for the Soviet Union's nuclear weapons from 1949 to 1989. It is located in the steppe in the northeast Kazakhstan (then the Kazakh SSR). The site was selected in 1947 by Lavrentiy Beria, political head of the Soviet atomic bomb project. The total power of nuclear charges in the atmosphere and on the surface was 2,500 times more than that of the power released by the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The testing site was closed August 29, 1991.

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