Once upon a time in the Cold War, the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test Site in Kazakhstan was the main nuclear weapons testing ground for the Soviet Union. Between 1949 and 1989, hundreds of nuclear tests were conducted there. In the aftermath of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan has been praised for closing Semipalatinsk and for giving up its nuclear weapons. But if Kazakhstan's leaders have taken positive steps on non-proliferation and nuclear safety issues, they have been less successful at securing the 7,000 square miles of the Semipalatinsk site itself. Kazakhstan’s leadership has done little to clean up the site, and, as shown in this photo essay, thousands of people still live in and around the atomic test site, where residual radioactivity and environmental damage are as normal a part of life as picking strawberries or pasturing cattle. Above, some residents of the small village of Koyan (a pseudonym) walk inside a nuclear crater.