This year is the 10th anniversary of the closing of the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site. The international antinuclear movement gNevada - Semeyh has done research work on the consequences of the nuclear tests at the site and carried out a program called gRehabilitation of the Earth and Human Beings.h
The main goal of the movement today is to help rehabilitate the damaged earth and peoplefs health. The serious damage to the environment of the region caused by more than 500 tests has been confirmed in a report of the UN General Secretary at the 53rd Session.
In order to address the problem, the Radiation, Ecology and Health Committee has been established and the committeefs experts in scientific and other fields are active in work such as monitoring of the ecological situation of the test site.
The environment was polluted with nuclear fallout produced by the testing of 124 atomic and hydrogen bombs carried out above ground, at various heights. The committee reported that nuclear clouds were monitored for only 24 of the 124 tests and that for the rest of the tests there was no monitoring and the fallout caused global contamination.
About two million hectares of agricultural land were contaminated with radioactive substances. Land contaminated with the maximum radioactive level extends as much as seven million hectares. Villages around the test site are situated at 15 to 50 kilometers from the test site. In comparison, the nearest village to the Nevada test site in the USA was 150 kilometers from the test site. Nuclear fallout covered a territory of 340,000 square kilometers where one million seven thousand people live.
Research has shown that about 30% of the test site is contaminated with Cesium-137 and Strontium-90. In the research, the schematic maps made by the Institute of Nuclear Safety and Ecology of the National Nuclear Center of the Republic of Kazakhstan in 1997 have been used. According to the research, areas called Testing Field, Balapan, and Degelen within the vast test site are highly contaminated with radiation. Other areas in the test site show notable concentration of transuranic elements, i.e. plutonium and americium, and this represents a serious danger to the people.
It is necessary to find the border between polluted and unpolluted area; to research the danger of plutonium pollution and migration of radionuclides through underground and surface water; and to provide results of monitoring of water and the quality of agricultural lands.
The significance of the problems facing the Semipalatinsk test site have also been confirmed by the fact that the UN General Assemblyfs adoption of a special appeal on this issue. With an initiative of the president of Kazakhstan, the appeal calls on the international community to give attention to helping the region.
The environmental consequences of the atomic and hydrogen bomb tests have not been completely studied yet. Research must be coordinated in order to grasp a complete picture of the situation. The main measures necessary for rehabilitation are the following: