Town of peaceful atom
March 06. Kazpravda. East Kazakhstan region
By Aigul BIDANOVA
People change their image, companies are re-branding, but are there towns that have undergone suchlike transformations? Probably it is Kazakhstan’s town Kurchatov.
Over the years of independence Kurchatov has evolved from dilapidated former military garrison with a sinister past into the town of peaceful atom. Nearly every fourth of its 11,000 residents is a highly qualified professional, mostly in the nuclear field.
It is no longer a secret that Kurchatov is the town of nuclear scientists, the territory, on which a high scientific and technological potential is pooled. On 15 May 1992 the President Decree came out on the establishment of the National Nuclear Center based on the research facilities of the former Semipalatinsk test site. Thereby the scientific potential was saved enabling to launch the national radio-ecological research program and reclaim the former nuclear facility for the national economy needs.
A landmark in the recent history of Kurchatov is also the President’s state-of-the-nation address of April 4, 2003, announcing the establishment of the Nuclear Technology Park (NTP), where these days, under the Industrialization Map for East Kazakhstan region, the investment project is under implementation on building the production of radiation-cross-linked foam polyethylene and heat shrinkable rings and tapes. Construction is under completion of the facility for radiation treatment of materials, sterilization of medical articles and foods, radiation crosslinking of polymer insulation of cables.
In the program for mono-towns development, Kurchatov is defined as scientific-industrial center of an average growth potential. Comprehensive development plan for Kurchatov throughout 2013-2015 was made under this program, which provides for improved landscaping, support to enterprise, building of social facilities and what’s most important – the use of the scientific potential. Republican Center of complex dosimetry is in the making, so is the Republican Center for processing and storage of radioactive waste and sources of ionizing radiation of nuclear and other industrial enterprises. It is purposed to improve the radiation situation in Kazakhstan, in the first place to exclude harmful effects of radioactive substances and recyclable waste on the population and the environment.
Under the program for mono-towns development, in Kurchatov schools and kindergartens are built and repaired along with other social facilities and amenities. Three investment projects are under fulfillment: construction of landfill for industrial waste, reconstruction of street lighting and street landscaping. Average monthly wage in this monotown -is 98.8 thousand tenge.
Kurchatov is well known abroad and is visited by not only reputable scientists, but also by most notable world elite persons, such as the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano. It is natural to assume that the town has a tourist potential as well. At a recent briefing in the regional information center, the mayor of Kurchatov Dimitri Garikov said that the visit to the former Semipalatinsk nuclear test site, its safe territory to be more precise, is a ready tourist route.