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Nuclear Disarmament Kazakhstan

  • Igor Kurchatov Monument (Developer of nuclear weapons) Igor Kurchatov Monument (Developer of nuclear weapons)
    www.rian.ru
  • Kurchatov city, center of the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site Kurchatov city, center of the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site
    www.rian.ru

NPT Non-Nuclear Weapon State
Formerly Possessed Nuclear Weapons


Arsenal Size

  • Kazakhstan possesses no nuclear weapons. [1]
  • Kazakhstan formerly had 1,410 Soviet strategic nuclear warheads placed on its territory and an undisclosed number of tactical nuclear weapons. [2]
  • One of the Soviet Union's two major nuclear test sites was located at Semipalatinsk, where at least 460 nuclear tests took place. [3]

Estimated Destructive Force

  • N/A

Progress in Disarmament

  • Kazakhstan transferred all of its Soviet-era nuclear weapons to the Russian Federation by April 1995. [4]
  • As part of the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program the United States assisted Kazakhstan in removing 1,322 lbs of HEU from the Ulba metallurgical plant in Ust-Kamenogorsk. [5] The United States paid Kazakhstan $25 million for the HEU transfer. [6]
  • The Semipalatinsk nuclear test site was officially closed in 1991. [7]
  • From 1995 to 2001, as part of the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, the United States assisted Kazakhstan sealing 13 bore holes and 181 tunnels at the test site. [8]

Security risks, increasingly scrutinized after 9/11, revealed the possibility of scavengers accessing plutonium in the sealed bore holes and tunnels at the site. Between 2001 and 2012 scavengers came within yards of the unguarded fissile material, although there is no indication that any plutonium was removed. [9] October 2012 marked the ceremonial end of the 17-year operation to secure the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site. [10]

Nuclear Weapon Related Policy

Sources:
[1] Joseph Cirincione, Jon B. Wolfsthal, Miriam Rajkumar, Deadly Arsenals: Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Threats, (Washington, DC, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2005), p. 368.
[2] Joseph Cirincione, Jon B. Wolfsthal, Miriam Rajkumar, Deadly Arsenals: Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical Threats, (Washington, DC, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2005), p. 365.
[3] "The Soviet Union's Nuclear Testing Programme," Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), www.ctbto.org.
[4] Tom Collina, "The Lisbon Protocol at a Glance," Arms Control Association, July 2008, www.armscontrol.org.
[5] IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano, "Statement to Conference for a Nuclear-Weapons-Free World," Astana, 12 October 2011, www.iaea.org; "Semipalatinsk Revisited: Old Nuclear Test Site Sets New Course," International Atomic Energy Agency, 31 August 2006, www.iaea.org.
[6] "STS Nuclear Infrastructure Elimination and Conversion," National Nuclear Center of the Republic of Kazakhstan, old.nnc.kz.
[7] "Inventory of International Nonproliferation Organizations and Regimes: Kazakhstan," James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, updated 18 November 2011, cns.miis.edu.
[8] NWFZ Clearinghouse, James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies, cns.miis.edu.

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This material is produced independently for NTI by the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of and has not been independently verified by NTI or its directors, officers, employees, or agents.

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The Nuclear Disarmament Resource Collection contains information and analysis of nuclear weapons disarmament proposals and progress worldwide, including detailed coverage of disarmament progress in countries who either possess or host other countries' nuclear weapons on their territories.

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Kazakhstan

This article provides an overview of Kazakhstan’s historical and current policies relating to nuclear, chemical, biological and missile proliferation.

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