The Value of Interviews in Representing the Long-Term Effects of Radiation in Kazakhstan

Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title

Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan was once the Soviet Union’s carefully concealed testing site for nuclear weapons, unbeknown even to nearby residents. In 1989, information about radioactive contamination became public knowledge, causing outcry. As a result, Semipalatinsk and its surrounding areas have high rates of structural and systemic health issues from nuclear testing, which were exacerbated by the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The long-term effects of this testing continue to burden the Kazakhstan healthcare system and its people today. In 1995, the American International Health Alliance (AIHA) formed the Houston-Semipalatinsk Partnership (HSP) to support better outcomes through systemic changes in affected regions following their independence from the former USSR. This paper, “The Value of Interviews in Representing the Long-Term Effects of Radiation in Kazakhstan,” discusses the subset of a collection of interviews about radiation effects and events involving hospital and healthcare administrators from the Texas Medical Center (TMC) Library and Kazakhstan who participated in the HSP. These interviews demonstrate how first-person sources highlight the voice and experience of the individual, conserve nonverbal information, and serve as a dynamic and engaging method to share history with the public. This work draws from interviews that the author and other Rice undergraduates conducted. These interviews are available online through Rice University’s Woodson Research Center and the TMC Library for the public to learn about these efforts in depth.

Journal article
Has part(s)
Forms part of
Published Version
Link to license
Citable link to this page