Half of the territory of the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site is safe. A comprehensive plan of radioecological research was completed in East Kazakhstan region. A total of more than 18,000 square kilometers have been checked. Over 2,000 experts have been investigating the territory that used to be a nuclear test site over 13 years.
“It was quite difficult for us sometimes in this field, there were no survey methodologies at first, we had to develop all this afoot and give scientific credence. During research, we proved that the territory of the site is not completely contaminated. About half of the test site’s territory wasn’t exposed to any radioactive contamination at all, and can be transferred to economic circulation,” said Assan Aidarkhanov, Director of the Institute of Radiation Safety and Ecology.
Meanwhile, more than 9,000 square kilometers remain contaminated.
“There are precedents and examples of excess contaminations. This is the Chagan River that comes out of Atomic Lake. Now the indicators of radioactive contamination of the water in this river are above the norm. All this is outside the test site boundary,” Aidarkhanov added.
However, work on the study of the lands of the former Semipalatinsk nuclear test site is far from complete. Experts will keep investigating the territory for the possibility of its use. The Mazhilis of the Kazakh Parliament is now considering a bill “On Semipalatinsk nuclear safety zone”, the adoption of which will help create a zone with a special legal status.
Translation by Saniya Sakenova
Editing by Galiya Khassenkhanova