Kazakhstan on Saturday announced the imminent completion of a multilateral initiative to bolster protective measures at a Soviet-era nuclear test site within its borders, the United Nations said in a statement.
“This year, we will complete the project to enhance physical security of the former Semipalatinsk Test Site,” which was shuttered in 1991, Kazakh acting Foreign Minister Kairat Umarov said in remarks to the U.N. General Assembly.
“We view this project, which is being implemented jointly with the United States and Russia, as our significant contribution to the global nonproliferation regime,” Umarov stated.
One initiative referred to as "Operation Groundhog" sought to prevent terrorists from acquiring radioactive soil from the site for use in a radiological "dirty bomb," Science magazine reported in 2003. A high-level defense official in 2009 described intensive efforts to “prevent nuclear residue material from falling into terrorists’ hands,” according to leaked diplomatic records released in 2010 by the transparency organization WikiLeaks.