A Preliminary study on attitudes toward nuclear weapons and nuclear tests of the residents of Kurchatov, Kazakhstan
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The town of Kurchatov was a secret city newly built in the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site as the headquarters of the nuclear tests. The present paper is a pilot study, first, to explore how the current Kurchatov residents think and feel about nuclear weapons and nuclear tests, and secondly, to compare the results of the survey with those of the similar survey near Semipalatinsk. Though the present study is based upon a small and limited survey conducted in the city, it is hoped that it will shed some new lights on the residents' attitudes toward nuclear tests and nuclear weapons. It is shown that the negative attitudes toward nuclear weapons and nuclear tests of those exposed to radiation near Semipalatinsk which characterize the Semipalatinsk survey are shared by the majority of the respondents of Kurchatov, as well as the concerns about the adverse health effects of nuclear tests. It is also shown, however, that there is a striking pro-nuclear minority in Kurchatov. Though the small and limit nature of our data does not allow us to confirm the existence of such a minority, our result suggests a possibility that there may be a certain pro-nuclear minority even in the region which have been severely affected by nuclear tests.