Falling behind the United States in the nuclear weapon development and production at first, the Soviet scientists, designers, specialists did their best to catch up with the Americans. But as they crossed the finishing tape, they said chokingly: “What we did should never be used.” They were true to their word. The Semipalatinsk Test Site was closed in forty-two years after the first test of the first bomb, on 29 August 1991. In all these years, it was used to carry out 468 nuclear tests with at least 616 nuclear and thermonuclear devices detonated. In the slang of the nuclear physicists, the test site was called the Lemonland for the yellow color of the scorched earth.
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