Semipalatinsk Travel Guide

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Semipalatinsk also known as Semey is the location of a former Soviet Nuclear Testing Area. The Semipalatinsk Test Site was founded in 1948 with the first nuclear explosion tested in 1949 and the last in 1989. Of the 467 nuclear detonations conducted there, 346 were underground, with the first of these underground experiments conducted in 1961. A total of 87 atmospheric and 26 surface nuclear detonations were also performed at the site between 1949 and 1989. Some tests involved multiple weapon detonations.

During the early days of the atomic energy program in the former Soviet Union, some unfortunate events occurred. The country's first atomic test in Semipalatinsk in 1949 exposed over 25,000 people downwind from the blast to significant doses of fission products, especially 131I.

Along with the problem of economic development, Kazakhstan must cope with some of the some of the worst prevailing conditions of environmental pollution in the world, existing pollution inherited from the Soviet era. Major current environmental problems in Kazakhstan include radioactive and toxic chemical sites associated with former defense industries and test ranges which are found throughout the country, posing health risks for humans and animals.

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