Radionuclide contamination at Kazakhstan's semipalatinsk test site: Implications on human and ecological health

Tina M. Carlsen, Leif E. Peterson, Brant A. Ulsh, Cynthia A. Werner, Kathleen L. Purvis, Anna C. Sharber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


A delegation of five scientists participated in a U.S. National Research Council program to review the status of research on the health and environmental impacts of nuclear testing at the Semipalatinsk Test Site (STS) in the eastern region of the Republic of Kazakhstan. From 11 August through 25 August 2000, we visited several research institutes in Kazakhstan and consulted with numerous Kazakh researchers from academic disciplines ranging from radioecology to public health and medicine. We focused on reviewing data on the health and environmental impacts resulting from the testing. The health effects caused by the testing at STS have received a fair amount of study, and research using modern techniques such as fluorescence in situ hybridization and nuclear magnetic resonance will likely increase the reliability of dose reconstruction. However, the extent to which the STS is contaminated has not been adequately characterized, and the potential exposure to nomadic peoples and ecological receptors at the uncontrolled test site is not known. Additional research in these areas, and development of administrative controls for the site, appears warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)943-955
Number of pages13
JournalHuman and Ecological Risk Assessment (HERA)
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Ecological impacts
  • Health effects
  • Kazakhstan
  • Radionuclides
  • Semipalatinsk Test Site
  • Site characterization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecological Modeling
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Pollution


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