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Shepherd Vlodya Lionchev works on a sheep ranch at the edge of the Semipalatinsk Polygon, the Soviet nuclear weapons testing site. Researchers detonated about 460 nuclear explosions above and below ground over a 40 year period, ending in 1989. The ranch is across a small valley from Lake Balapan, also known as Atomic Lake, created when a nuclear test blew the top off of a mountain. The resulting crater filled with water and is one of the most radioactive sites within the Polygon. Recently, local shepherds have watered their sheep at the lake, not believing scientific warnings about the dangers of doing so. <br />
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© Michael Forster Rothbart<br />
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Photo by: Michael Forster Rothbart<br />
Date: 8/2007    File#:  Canon 20D digital camera frame 11329
Shepherd Vlodya Lionchev works on a sheep ranch at the edge of the Semipalatinsk Polygon, the Soviet nuclear weapons testing site. Researchers detonated about 460 nuclear explosions above and below ground over a 40 year period, ending in 1989. The ranch is across a small valley from Lake Balapan, also known as Atomic Lake, created when a nuclear test blew the top off of a mountain. The resulting crater filled with water and is one of the most radioactive sites within the Polygon. Recently,...
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Portraits from the Former Soviet Union