8 months ago
Kazakhstan was once home to nearly a quarter of the world’s nuclear testing. Decay and desolation now scar the remote corner of the country. Unnatural lakes were formed by nuclear bomb explosions and empty shells of buildings sit on the once flat terrain. The nuclear testing program was stopped nearly 30 years ago, but the area — and its inhabitants — continue to deal with the devastation the program caused. Many residents remained in the area during the nuclear testing program. Photograph Phil Hatcher-Moore spent two months documenting the region. His project, “Nuclear Ghosts,” connects the wasted landscape and intimate portraits of villagers still suffering the consequences. Some 100,000 people in the area are affected by radiation, which can be transmitted down through five generations, writes National Geographic. Moore’s pictures show the tangible proof of that.
I met Kapiza last February, in a small village deep in the #Kazakh #Steppe. The land was frozen, and it was bitterly cold outside. Kapiza was born 12 years before the Soviets tested their first #nuclear bomb in the #Semipalatinsk Test Site, dubbed the #Polygon. Her village is on the edge of the test site, and during the #ColdWar, when nuclear tests were taking place here, villagers were instructed to come out of buildings. Now, hundreds of thousands of people are thought to be affected by the legacy of the Polygon. I spent several weeks there over the past year, exploring the effects of the nuclear tests on the people and the environment here, thanks to the @fondationyvesrocher grant. Tonight, they will announce this year’s laureate at @visapourlimage. Good luck! And if you’re in #Perpignan this evening, a screening of my work from #Kazakhstan will be presented as part of the festival. @leica_camera
A baby, born with #hydrocephalus, is preserved in the anatomical museum in #Semey State Medical University in eastern #Kazakhstan. According to the museum, hydrocephalus affects one in every 500 live births. Whilst not all deformations are linked to #Soviet #nuclear testing in the region during the Cold War, experts here say there are 600,000 people who have the status of being affected by the radiation.
Concrete “geese” stand a couple of hundred meters away from the site of the first #Soviet nuclear test in the #Semipalatinsk Test Site in eastern #Kazakhstan. Between 1949 and 1989, 616 #nuclear explosions were performed at the test site and the geese were used to measure the effects of the explosions. When Kazakhstan gained its independence from the #USSR in 1991, they closed the site, but the #nuclear legacy of the testing still leaves its mark on the area and its people. Scientists are now conducting research to test the feasibility of using the land again.
Read the full story at National Geographic
Zulfiya was born with cerebral palsy in a village not far from Semey in eastern #Kazakhstan. Her mother grew up on the edge of the #Semipalatinsk Test Site, when over 100 atmospheric #nuclear tests were conducted as part of the nuclear arms race of the #ColdWar. Doctors linked her condition with the radiation her mother was exposed to during the 1950s.