Radiation and Environmental Biophysics

, Volume 58, Issue 1, pp 1–11 | Cite as

The State Scientific Automated Medical Registry, Kazakhstan: an important resource for low-dose radiation health research

  • K. N. Apsalikov
  • A. Lipikhina
  • B. GroscheEmail author
  • T. Belikhina
  • E. Ostroumova
  • S. Shinkarev
  • V. Stepanenko
  • T. Muldagaliev
  • S. Yoshinaga
  • T. Zhunussova
  • M. Hoshi
  • H. Katayama
  • D. T. Lackland
  • S. L. Simon
  • A. Kesminiene


Direct quantitative assessment of health risks following exposure to ionizing radiation is based on findings from epidemiological studies. Populations affected by nuclear bomb testing are among those that allow such assessment. The population living around the former Soviet Union’s Semipalatinsk nuclear test site is one of the largest human cohorts exposed to radiation from nuclear weapons tests. Following research that started in the 1960s, a registry that contains information on more than 300,000 individuals residing in the areas neighboring to the test site was established. Four nuclear weapons tests, conducted from 1949 to 1956, resulted in non-negligible radiation exposures to the public, corresponding up to approximately 300 mGy external dose. The registry contains relevant information about those who lived at the time of the testing as well as about their offspring, including biological material. An international group of scientists worked together within the research project SEMI-NUC funded by the European Union, and concluded that the registry provides a novel, mostly unexplored, and valuable resource for the assessment of the population risks associated with environmental radiation exposure. Suggestions for future studies and pathways on how to use the best dose assessment strategies have also been described in the project. Moreover, the registry could be used for research on other relevant public health topics.


Health effects Kazakhstan Nuclear bomb testing Population registry Ionizing radiation 



The work was partly funded by FP7-EURATOM-Fission under contract 323310.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. N. Apsalikov
    • 1
  • A. Lipikhina
    • 1
  • B. Grosche
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • T. Belikhina
    • 1
  • E. Ostroumova
    • 4
  • S. Shinkarev
    • 5
  • V. Stepanenko
    • 6
  • T. Muldagaliev
    • 1
  • S. Yoshinaga
    • 7
  • T. Zhunussova
    • 8
  • M. Hoshi
    • 9
  • H. Katayama
    • 10
  • D. T. Lackland
    • 11
  • S. L. Simon
    • 12
  • A. Kesminiene
    • 4
  1. 1.Scientific Research Institute for Radiation Medicine and EcologySemeyKazakhstan
  2. 2.Federal Office for Radiation ProtectionNeuherbergGermany
  3. 3.FreisingGermany
  4. 4.International Agency for Research on CancerLyon Cedex 08France
  5. 5.State Research Center–Burnasyan Federal Medical Biophysical CenterMoscowRussian Federation
  6. 6.A. Tsyb Medical Radiological Research CenterObninskRussian Federation
  7. 7.Institute for Radiation Biology and Medicine, Hiroshima UniversityHiroshimaJapan
  8. 8.Norwegian Radiation Protection AuthorityOsteraasNorway
  9. 9.Institute for Peace ScienceHiroshima UniversityHiroshimaJapan
  10. 10.The Comprehensive Data Archives and Analysis (CDAA)HiroshimaJapan
  11. 11.Medical University of South CarolinaCharlestonUSA
  12. 12.Division of Cancer Epidemiology and GeneticsNational Cancer Institute, National Institutes of HealthBethesdaUSA

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