Closure of Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site is a historical decision of Nursultan Nazarbayev
NUR-SULTAN. KAZINFORM Today Kazakhstan marks the 28th anniversary of signing of a very important historical document. On August 29, 1991, Nursultan Nazarbayev inked the Decree #409 of the President of the Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic «On closing the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site».
«Nuclear weapons testing has been carried out in the territory of the Kazakh SSR since 1949. Approximately 500 nuclear explosions were fired during this period which occurred to be harmful for people’s health and lives. Taking into account that the Kazakh SSR has fulfilled its duty on creating nuclear potential thus ensuring parity among the USSR and the U.S., and in deference to social demands, I decree: To close the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site… «, the Decree of the First President reads.
At present, Kazakhstan is known in the world for its consecutive antinuclear initiatives . It is worth noting that the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site was the fourth largest nuclear arsenal in the world. Based on these initiatives, in 2015 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration on the Achievement of a Nuclear-Weapons-Free-World .
At the suggestion of Kazakhstan, the UN declared August 29 as the International Day against Nuclear Tests.
To assess the significance of the decision made by Nursultan Nazarbayev on closing the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site one must take into account that for several decades before the world's leading countries tried to degrade nuclear threat by reducing nuclear arsenals and introducing moratoriums on nuclear weapons tests. Owing to the radical decision on shutting down the nuclear site back in 1991 Nursultan Nazarbayev gained great respect in the world community. It should also be remembered that the Decree was signed by the First President at the time when Kazakhstan was part of the USSR. In his speeches Nursultan Nazarbayev has always emphasized that the closure of the Semipalatinst Nuclear Test Site is the fulfillment of the will of Kazakhstani people.
It should be noted that after closing Semipalatinsk test site and renunciation of nuclear weapon Kazakhstan has got firm security assurance and assistance from nuclear states in eliminating consequences of nuclear tests at the Semipalatinsk test site. It is no coincidence that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) decided to deploy a low enriched uranium bank in Kazakhstan. In general, the position of Kazakhstan in relation to nuclear weapons and nuclear testing has become the basis for further formation of its positive image as well as the promotion of a peaceful, constructive foreign policy. Moreover, this allowed to actively attract foreign investment which in turn ensured the high rates of socio-economic development of our country creating the basis for the future prosperity of Kazakhstan.
The closure of the Semipalatinsk Test Site has become one of the most important milestones associated with the declaration of independence. By the Decree of the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan dated July 3, 2019, # 467, August 29 - the Day of closing the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site, was included in the list of holidays.