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Experiences of a Dutch Journalist




Semipalatinsk, May 1999

Researching the effects of Soviet nuclear tests in Semipalatinsk. In forty years time, approximately 458 tests were conducted, leaving a multitude of diseases around the test site.


Lenin square in the city centre. Statues from various cities were moved here to create this 'Lenin ploshad'.


The main research institute in the city. They have to work with old equipment, because they lack of sufficient funds.


One of the top secret files. Most documents with information about the tests were moved to Moscow or destroyed.


Director Alexander Sekerbaev of the research institute shows the level of radiation near the so called 'Atomic lake', a crater formed by a massive explosion. In some areas the radiation level is 700 times normal.


Znamenka, one of the villages hit most by the fall out of the explosions.


Two of Znamenka's villagers. The man suffers from acute rheumatism. His illness was proven to be connected with radiation.


Image of a grave yard next to Znamenka. Many people die at a very young age.


The children's hospital. It can only provide a doctor. Parents have to pay for the medicines themselves. Most of the equipment is very old. The budget is cut down further every year.


This boy died of leukaemia. When this picture was taken, he only had six months to live. His mother is sure his illness was connected to the radiation.


Artist Alexander Shevchenko. As a prisoner, he had to work on the construction of the secret city Kurchatov. He expressed the horrors he lived through in some horror paintings.


One of the horror paintings.


Do you want to know more about Semipalatinsk? Read the following article: