Effects of Radioactive Contamination from the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site on Behavior Related to Food Choices: A Case Study of Kazakhstan
Tetsuya Nakamura*1,, Satoru Masuda*2, Akifumi Kuchiki*3, and Atsushi Maruyama*4
4158 Uchimaki, Kasukabe, Saitama 344-0051, Japan
*2Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan
*3Nihon University, Kanagawa, Japan
*4Chiba University, Chiba, Japan
In this article, we analyzed the effects of radioactive contamination from the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site on food choices in Kazakhstan. Nearly 90% of citizens in Kazakhstan knew their health had been affected by radioactive material from the nuclear test site, with more than 50% of citizens still confirming the safety of foodstuffs regarding radioactive materials when purchasing food. However, citizens in the vicinity of the nuclear test site did not take countermeasures against internal exposure due to declining fear of radioactivity, despite refraining from purchasing food from near the nuclear test site. More than 80% of Kazakhstan understood that exposure to radioactive materials was both external and internal. Further, Kazakhs were more aware of the effects of internal exposure on the human body than either Ukrainians or Japanese. Elderly people who remembered the times when nuclear tests had been conducted were aware of radioactive materials in food. High-income individuals took measures to control radioactive contamination in consideration of their nutritional balance, while low-income individuals refrained from purchasing food from near the nuclear test site as a means of controlling potential contamination. In Kazakhstan, more than 60% of citizens did not take measures against internal exposure, but the number of citizens who were concerned about radioactive materials was much higher than in either Ukraine or Japan. In Kazakhstan, 30–40% of citizens, particularly women, would buy at least 20% more if foodstuffs with lower than the regulated level of radioactive materials were sold.
-  M. Watanabe, “Relationship between nature and people (Shizen Kankyo to Hitobito no Kakawari),” T. Uyama and T. Fujimoto (Eds.), “60 chapters to know about Kazakhstan (Kazakhstan wo Shiru tameno 60 syou),” Akashi Syoten, pp. 18-23, 2015 (in Japanese).
-  T. Uyama, “Eurasian State Kazakhstan (Eurasia Kokka Kazakhstan),” T. Uyama and T. Fujimoto (Eds.), “60 chapters to know about Kazakhstan (Kazakhstan wo Shiru tameno 60 syou),” Akashi Syoten, pp. 12-16, 2015 (in Japanese).
-  INDEPENDENT, The world’s worst radiation hotspot, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/the-worlds-worst-radiation-hotspot-1784502.html [accessed October 20, 2020]
-  T. Kassenova, “The lasting toll of Semipalatinsk’s nuclear testing,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, September 28, 2009, https://thebulletin.org/2009/09/the-lasting-toll-of-semipalatinsks-nuclear-testing/ [accessed October 20, 2020]
-  ”Report of the Results Radiological Study of Semipalatinsk Region During the Period 25 May–15 July 1957,” Institute of Biophysics, 1957.
-  R. Vakulchuk and K. Gjerde, “Semipalatinsk Nuclear Testing: The Humaitarian Consequence,” Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, 40pp., 2014.
-  F. Pearce, “Fallout (Sekai no Kaku Hisaichi de Okita koto),” M. Tagaya, S. Kurokawa, and M. Shiba (Trans.), Hara shobo, 343pp., 2019 (in Japanese).
-  F. Pearce, “Fallout: A Journey through the Nuclear Age, From the Atom Bomb to Radioactive Waste,” Granta Books, 268pp., 2019.
-  F. Pearce, “Interview: After the Bomb,” New Scientist, May 4, 2005, http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg18624986-400-interview-after-the-bomb/ [accessed October 20, 2020]
-  K. Hirabayashi, K. Satoh, and M. Ohtaki, “Cognitive structure of the residents of Semipalatinsk area due to nuclear tests,” Nagasaki Medical J. (Nagasaki Igakkai zasshi), Vol.87, pp. 277-279, 2012 (in Japanese).
-  K. Hirabayashi, N. Kawano, T. Muldagaliyev, K. Apsalikov, and M. Ohtaki, “The psychological effects and their causes among residents living near the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site,” Hiroshima Peace Science, Vol.34, pp. 145-160, 2012 (in Japanese with English abstract).
-  Y. Taira, et al., “Current concentration of artificial radionuclides and estimated radiation doses from 137Cs around the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Testing Site, and in Nagasaki,” J. of Radiation Research, Vol.52, No.1, pp. 88-95, 2011,
-  N. Kawano, K. Hirabayashi, M. Hoshi, and M. Matsuo, “A Full-text Japanese Database of Testimonies of Those Exposed to Radiation near the Nuclear Test Site of Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan,” Hiroshima Peace Science, Vol.25, pp. 31-51, 2003 (in Japanese with English abstract).
-  K. Hirabayashi, “Recognition or awareness of inhabitants toward nuclear test – by the survey of questionnaire and interview in Semipalatinsk area,” T. Imanaka and N. Kawano (Eds.), “Proc. of the Meeting on Investigation of Various Nuclear Disasters in the World,” KUR Report of Kyoto University Research Reactor Institute, Vol.23, pp. 32-42, 2018 (in Japanese).
-  S. Takemine, N. Kawano, T. Muldagaliye, and K. Apsalikov, “Outline of the Law on Social Protection of Citizens Suffered from Nuclear Tests in Semipalatinsk Conducted by the Former Soviet Union,” Hiroshima Peace Science, Vol.37, pp. 69-93, 2015 (in Japanese with English abstract).
-  Y. Taira, et al., “Vertical distribution and estimated doses from artificial radionuclides in soil samples around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and the Semipalatinsk nuclear testing site,” PLOS ONE, Vol.8, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0057524, 2013.
-  M. E. Stawkowski, ““I Am a Radioactive Mutant”: Emergent Biological Subjectivities at Kazakhstan’s Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site,” American Ethnologist, Vol.43, No.1, pp. 144-157, 2016.
-  “Law of the Republic of Kazakhstan of December 18, 1992 N 1787-XII – On social protection of citizens who suffered from nuclear tests at the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site,” http://adilet.zan.kz/kaz/docs/Z920003600_/links [accessed October 20, 2020]
-  T. Nakamura and A. Maruyama, “Analysis on the Measures to Mitigate the Risk of Radioactive Contamination in Foods: A Survey for parents of junior and high school students,” J. of Agricultural Development Studies, Vol.27, No.3, pp. 36-48, 2017 (in Japanese).
-  K. Yamamoto et al., “Internal exposure risk due to radiocesium and the consuming behaviour of local foodstuffs among pregnant women in Minamisoma City near the Fukushima nuclear power plant: a retrospective observational study,” BMJ Open, Vol.9, No.7, doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2018-023654, 2019.
-  Team for Improving Consumer Understanding of Food and Radioactivity, Consumer Affairs Agency, Government of Japan, “Survey on consumer awareness of rumors (13th report),” 17pp., March 10, 2020 (in Japanese).
-  Department for Mitigation of the Consequences of the Catastrophe at the Chernobyl NPP of the Ministry for Emergency Situations of the Republic of Belarus, “A Quarter of a Century after the Chernobyl Catastrophe: Outcomes and Prospects for the Mitigation of Consequences – National Report of the Republic of Belarus,” Society Japan-Republic of Belarus (Trans.), Sangakusha, 189pp., 2013 (in Japanese).
-  T. Nakamura and S. Masuda, “Agricultural revival in Belarus based on the Chernobyl Law and National Programs,” J. of Agricultural Development Studies, Vol.30, No.1, pp. 43-56, 2019 (in Japanese).
-  House of Councillors, The National Diet of Japan, “II. Survey in the Republic of Kazakhstan,” “14th House of Councilors Official Development Assistance (ODA) Survey Dispatch Report,” pp. 8-25, 2018 (in Japanese),
-  T. Nakamura, Y. Yano, and A. Maruyama, “Evaluation of public awareness of and safety measures regarding radioactive substances: A case study of Ukraine after the Minsk Agreement,” J. of Agricultural Development Studies, Vol.29, No.2, pp. 27-43, 2018 (in Japanese).
-  T. Nakamura, Y. Yano, and A. Maruyama, “Public evaluation of nuclear power and food safety management: A case study of Sweden,” J. of Agricultural Development Studies, Vol.29, No.2, pp. 10-26, 2018 (in Japanese).
-  T. Ogiu, et al., “Study on Health Effects of Radiation in Residents in and around the Former Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site (STS) (2nd Report),” The 52nd Annual Meeting of the Japan Radiation Research Society, Session ID OD-10, p. 102, 2009.
-  S. Yamashita, “Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site and Hiroshima/Nagasaki (Semipalatinsk Kaku Jikkennjyou to Hirossima/Nagasaki),” T. Uyama and T. Fujimoto (Eds.), “60 chapters to know about Kazakhstan (Kazakhstan wo Shiru tameno 60 syou),” Akashi Syoten, pp. 324-329, 2015 (in Japanese).
-  T. Morizumi, “New edition: Semipalatinsk – People in the grassland, nuclear claw marks (Shinpan: Semipalatinsk –Sougen no Tami, Kaku Jikken no Tumeato–),” Koubunken, 135pp., 2011 (in Japanese).
-  A. Sultanova, “Living in the Nuclear Test Site: The Present State of Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan (Kaku Jikkenchi ni Sumu: Kazakhstan, Semipalatinsk no Genzai),” Kadensha, 224pp., 2018 (in Japanese).
-  R. S. Norris and T. B. Cochran, “Nuclear weapons tests and peaceful nuclear explosions by the Soviet Union: August 29, 1949 to October 24, 1990,” Natural Resource Defense Council, 68pp., 1996.
-  F. Pearce, “Exposed: Soviet cover-up of nuclear fallout worse than Chernobyl,” New Scientist, March 20, 2017, https://www.newscientist.com/article/2125202-exposed-soviet-cover-up-of-nuclear-fallout-worse-than-chernobyl/ [accessed October 20, 2020]
-  R. Edwards, “The Day the Sky Caught Fire,” New Scientist, May 13, 1995, https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg14619772-300-the-day-the-sky-caught-fire/ [accessed October 20, 2020]
-  NHK (Moscow/Hiroshima) coverage group, “NHK SPECIAL: Former Soviet nuclear test (Kyu Soren Senritsu no Kaku Jikken),” NHK Publishing, Inc., 269pp., 1994 (in Japanese).
-  T. Nakamura, Y. Yano, X. Yu, and A. Maruyama, “German citizens’ attitudes towards measures for preventing and controlling radioactive pollution and promoting renewable energy: Using online survey tool,” J. of Agricultural Development Studies, Vol.24, No.3, pp. 49-63, 2014 (in Japanese).
-  T. Nakamura and A. Maruyama, “Attitude of foreign citizens toward nuclear energy policy and radioactive materials in food: A Case study on Lorraine region, France,” J. of Agricultural Development Studies, Vol.27, No.2, pp. 13-27, 2016 (in Japanese).
-  T. Nakamura, S. Masuda, A. Maruyama, and Y. Yano, “Citizen evaluation of policies for overcoming damage from nuclear accidents: A case study of Belarus,” J. of Agricultural Development Studies, Vol.30, No.1, pp. 1-16, 2019 (in Japanese).
-  T. Nakamura, S. Masuda, A. Maruyama, and Y. Yano, “Citizen Satisfaction and Continuing Intentions Regarding Support and Compensation Prescribed by the Chernobyl Act: A Case Study of the Russian Central Federal District,” J. Disaster Res., Vol.14, No.8, pp. 1086-1104, doi: 10.20965/jdr.2019.p1086, 2019.
-  Foreign Currency Exchange Rates and Currency Converter-FX Forex Currency, http://jp.fx-exchange.com/ [accessed October 20, 2020]
-  ASTANA & ALMATY STYLE FOOD, https://www.jetro.go.jp/ext_images/_Reports/02/2017/850629032f981bd9/4-food.pdf [accessed October 20, 2020]
-  R. Omatsu, “The Chernobyl Experience: What to Ask Fukushima (Chernobyl to Iu Keiken: Fukushima ni Nani wo Tounoka),” pp. 47-63, Iwanami Shoten, 2018 (in Japanese).
This article is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.