«FROM NATIONAL TRAGEDY TO NATIONAL PATRI-MONY»
Since the Test Site has been stopped and up until now, Na-tional Nuclear Center of the Republic of Kazakhstan (NNC RK) in cooperation with other specialist from Kazakhstan and in-ternational scientific community have accumulated large scope of information about current radiological situation at SNTS and adjacent territories. There were revealed all impor-tant spots of radioactive contamination, identified main path-ways and mechanisms for present and potential proliferation of radioactive substances. Obtained data assure us that pre-sent-day SNTS provides no negative impact on population on adjacent to the site territories excluding people in the water basin of the river Shagan. Compliance with regulatory re-quirements and special rules for SNTS territory assures radiation safety at commercial activities on the Site. At the same time, the radiological situation does not remain stable; there were revealed the processes of radionuclide migration what requires regular monitoring of radiological situation at SNTS.
Taking into account the scale of the Site and the variety of tests performed there, the information available about SNTS can not be completely exhaustive but enables us to propose a scientifically grounded plan for further research and practical measures aimed at remediation and reclamation of lands. Im-plementation of such measures should return up to 80 % of the lands to commercial use.
SNTS is one of the world largest nuclear test sites with decisive contribution to creation and development of nuclear weapon. To considerable extent, these were works at SNTS which es-tablished nuclear parity between the superpowers – one of the crucial factors in the history of human civilization in the XX century. Also, taking into account the interest to SNTS paid by international organizations, it is reasonable to initiate a proce-dure and recognize SNTS as a landmark including it in the UNESCO List of Cultural and Nature Heritage. UNESCO status would foster re-evaluation of the approaches and attitude towards the Site and, quite possibly, to lowering of radio-phobia in Kazakhstan increasing national proud.
Territory of the test site remains a unique area in terms of opportunities it provides for various researches in radio-ecology, geochemistry of radioactive elements, radio-biology, and other fields. So, it should be quite promising to establish at SNTS an International Natural-Sciences Laboratory for Ra-dio-Ecology. The first step towards this might be creation of IAEA Radiation Ecology Collaboration Center under the Insti-tute for Radiation Safety and Ecology NNC RK.
Certain areas at SNTS can not be used now and in the observ-able future for conventional commercial activities. At the same time these lands can profitably be used for bringing there enterprises of nuclear power cycle. Particular need in Kazakhstan exists for disposal of radioactive waste accumu-lated in Kazakhstan. It is therefore reasonable to establish at SNTS a facility for processing and long-term storage (disposal) of radioactive waste.
Thus, now the former test site has so many unique qualities that their proper development and utilization would inevitably result both in new achievements in advanced sci-ence and in noticeable commercial outcomes for the national economy.