We live in the most nuked place on Earth… it’s a wasteland pockmarked with craters, abandoned bunkers & an ‘Atomic Lake’

<div>We live in the most nuked place on Earth… it’s a wasteland pockmarked with craters, abandoned bunkers & an ‘Atomic Lake’</div>
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HIDDEN away in the frosty Kazakhstan planes lies the nuclear hell on earth – a wasteland pockmarked with craters, abandoned bunkers and even an “atomic lake”.

Kurchatov is the most nuked placed on the planet, where more than 400 nuclear bombs were detonated but kept completely secret as it was erased from maps for decades.

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An abandoned KGB building in the area[/caption]

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The bomber base in the area[/caption]

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The area even has an atomic lake[/caption]

Named after prominent scientist Igor Kurchatov, who was in charge of the Soviet Atomic project, the town is where the Soviets would play Oppenheimer during the arms race with America.

They invented, tested and detonated 456 of their nuclear and hydrogen bombs in the area, equivalent to the US Los Alamos region.

And its unaware locals would have to later bear the consequences for the rest of their lives.

During the 1950s, it was reported that a single detonation in the region caused four times as many instances of severe radiation poisoning as the Chernobyl disaster.

The worst explosion took place on January 15, 1965, when the USSR tested a hydrogen bomb 11 times the strength of the Hiroshima bomb dropped by the US in 1945 Japan.

The 140-kiloton device was buried nearly 180 metres in the ground, and upon detonation, the blast created a crater of 454 metres wide and 100 metres deep, throwing soil nearly one and a half kilometres up in the air.

The impact was so powerful that the dust took nearly 50 days to settle, resulting in the existing hills that surround the crater.

Shortly after the test, a nearby river was redirected to fill the crater, creating what locals now refer to as the Atomic Lake.

Named after prominent Soviet scientist Igor Kurchatov, the town is now frozen in time, holding an eerie collection of Cold War relics.

When the nuclear programme ran from 1949 to 1989, it is believed that more than one million people resided in and around the distant community.

But today, only a few thousand people remain, with many of the structures now stripped bare and derelict.

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Giant craters and abandoned bunkers are the haunting backdrop to the testimonies of four survivors.

Speaking for the first time on camera, the inhabitants of the top secret Soviet-era town recalled the horrors they lived with explosions taking place on their doorstep.

They also revealed the devastating impact the explosions had on their health as radiation left “everyone” riddled with cancer.

But some admitted that they had no idea what was going on at the time, since the authorities were successful in keeping people in the dark.

Their homes would violently every once in a while, and they would witness plumes of dust exploding in the distance, but these impacts were dismissed as “extreme weather conditions”.

Filmmakers Thomas Brag and Staffan Taylor, who ventured to Kurchatov for their YouTube documentary, spoke with a woman named Nadezhda Golovina.

She unknowingly witnessed hundreds of nuclear bombs go off in her youth, and said: “We didn’t know it was so bad.

“Now everybody writes and talks about it. And then, what did we know? We didn’t know anything. Just what the teacher taught at school. 

“They used to tell us to leave the house in case it collapsed, a window or the door of the stove would open and ashes would fall out. [Even] the chandeliers were swinging.”

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A statue of prominent scientist Igor Kurchatov, who was in charge of the Soviet Atomic project[/caption]

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Nadezhda Golovina unknowingly witnessed hundreds of nuclear bombs go off in her youth in the area[/caption]

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Giant craters were left behind from the blasts[/caption]

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The small town used to be known as one of the most secretive places in the Soviet Union[/caption]

Fellow local Uncle Serikpay said he moved to Kurchatov as a miner and would help build passages to “prepare everything for the [nuclear] tests.”

Unlike Golovina, he was completely aware of what was taking place down at the Semipalatinsk test site, located less than 100 miles from Kurchatov.

He said he had to sign a non-disclosure act, and anyone daring to speak about the work being carried out would suddenly disappear and “we never saw him again.”

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Serikpay added he was only allowed to work 30-minute shifts in places with high levels of radiation in a bid to mitigate health risks.

“If there was a low level of radiation, we could work longer,” he explained.

At almost 73, Uncle Serikpay said he still “feels good” as he was not heavily exposed to high levels of radiation.

But some weren’t so lucky.

Another local, a woman named Lyubov Filina, explained in the documentary: “Of course it affected people’s health. People have cancer. Cancer, cancer, cancer, cancer…

“There was radiation and people started getting sick. There are the books from the hospital where only cases of radiation and anemia are written.

“We were kids back then and we didn’t understand anything. Even adults didn’t know that the mushroom cloud was more dangerous than vibration or broken windows.”

In 1989, Filina was expecting her son, who was born with congenital cataracts of 16 diopters.

“I believe it was caused by the radiation exposure. I read about it in the medical encyclopedia,” she said.

“We saw helicopters over the city measuring something and now we understood there was a radiation release at that time.

“Some children were born with disabilities. Our parents covered us, but not themselves.”

A third local, named Uncle Khamit, lost both of his parents to cancer.

Having moved to Kurchatov in 1976, he said that the nuclear bomb explosions were a “scary experience”.

Uncle Khamit said: “First, there’s a big flare and then there’s the mushroom that comes out. We were kids, but there was a feeling inside that something bad was being done.

“Older people, everyone was afraid because everything became dark there, everything was covered in dust, the feeling was terrible.

“We were taken outside the village. There was a ravine dug there, and there we lay down.

“They always covered us with blankets, and the whole village lay there. Soldiers would run to see if we were covered or not.

“One time I remember a soldier being swept away.”

Only in 1989 did knowledge regarding radioactive pollution at the Semipalatinsk test site become public, and the results sparked widespread outrage.

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For two years, the Kazakh government waged an anti-nuclear campaign, asking that Moscow stop nuclear testing.

Eventually, the activists prevailed, and the Semipalatinsk nuclear testing facility was officially closed on August 29, 1991, with all testing prohibited in the region.

This was the same year Kazakhstan won independence from the former Soviet Union.

Uncle Serikpay said most people left Kurchatov when the testing site shut down.

“In 1991 when the test site was closed and Kazakhstan declared a moratorium everything broke up. People moved away and the Soviet Union collapsed,” he told the filmmakers.

Uncle Serikpay continued to labour at the nuclear testing site after it was closed, and America assisted with its dismantling from 1996 to 1999.

He also assisted in the excavation of an unexploded bomb, which was safely destroyed in an underground tube in 1995.

“‘It was an atomic bomb that was supposed to explode. It was a real bomb that we had time to install, but we didn’t have time to use it,” he said.

Lyubov Filina said the mass exodus of people was odd but her family opted to stay.

“They just left. The military was reassigned to other places and went there,” she said.

“People were leaving but we continued to live and work here. Everyone had families and children to feed

“The military moved away, and our family didn’t have military, so we stayed here.”

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Ex-resident Lyubov Filina claimed her son had major health issues caused by the radiation exposure[/caption]

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The Kazakhstan town of Kurchatov is deemed the most nuked place on Earth[/caption]

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Uncle Serikpay moved to Kurchatov as a miner and helped build passages to ‘prepare everything for the [nuclear] tests’[/caption]

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