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Kurchatov city (Kazakhstan)

Cities of East KazakhstanCity tour in Kurchatov

Kurchatov is a city of regional subordination, the center of the former Semipalatinsk nuclear test site, closed in 1991. The city is named after the Soviet physicist Igor Kurchatov. After the cessation of nuclear tests and the dismantling of the facility, the population of Kurchatov decreased from 20,000 to 8,000 people. In Soviet times, Kurchatov (codenamed Semipalatinsk-16) was a closed city and one of the most secret and inaccessible places in the USSR.

How to get there

The city of Kurchatov is located in the Abai region of Kazakhstan. It is located on the left bank of the Irtysh River between the cities of Semey and Pavlodar. GPS coordinates: 50°45'24"N 78°32'24"E


The decision to create a nuclear research site was made by the Council of Ministers of the USSR and the Central Committee of the CPSU on August 21, 1947. The training ground received the oral name "training ground", code military unit 52605. The first military units and individual units from June 1, 1947 began to move to the village of Moldary in the May district of Pavlodar region. The landfill is located on the territory of Semipalatinsk, Pavlodar, Karaganda regions of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The total area is 18500 sq. m., the perimeter is about 600 km. The territory of these regions accounts for 54%, 39% and 37% of the territory of the landfill.

Preparatory work for the field tests was completed in July 1949. On August 29 of the same year, the first tests of a nuclear device were conducted in the USSR. The direct scientific management of the test was headed by Kurchatov I. V. On August 12, 1953, the first thermonuclear device was tested at the test site, on November 22, 1955 – a hydrogen bomb. Nuclear tests were conducted with the aim of testing nuclear explosive devices and weapons samples. The landfill was considered a complex research complex. According to the structure, it consisted of the base city of Kurchatov. (area "M"), with laboratory and experimental base "Balapan", pl. No. 10", pl. "Degelen", pl. "Sh".

In parallel with the construction of the test sites, a residential administrative center located 130 km west of the city of Semey began to be built. Initially, the residential town served as a military garrison, after the completion of the construction of the railway line, the Semey - Terminal station was named "Moscow-400" because of its exceptional secrecy. Since 1947, it received the status of a city and was named Kurchatov. It is known to the world as Semipalatinsk-21.

The city of Kurchatov in East Kazakhstan


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