The nuclear infrastructure elimination program at the former Semipalatinsk Test Site is carried out within an intergovernmental Agreement between the Republic of Kazakhstan and the United States of America and the Cooperative Threat Reduction Program (CTR) developed by the USA to render assistance to Kazakhstan, Russia, Ukraine and Byelorussia.
The United States committed itself to giving assistance to safely eliminate nuclear infrastructure by providing necessary services and equipment and related personnel training to permanently close the Degelen Mountain nuclear test tunnel complex at the former Semipalatinsk Test Site.
On September 24, 1993, the United States of America and the Republic of Kazakhstan signed a Joint Statement of Intent, in which the USA committed itself to assisting the Republic of Kazakhstan with assessing the impact of Soviet nuclear testing at the former Semipalatinsk Test Site.
On August 13, 1996, the Government of Kazakhstan officially designated (Decree #1002) the National Nuclear Center RK as an executive agent for all nuclear weapons infrastructure elimination programs at the former Semipalatinsk Test Site, to include the Degelen and Balapan closure programs. The work was carried out in close cooperation with Kazakhstan ministries and departments.
The work fulfilled in period 1996 to 2001 resulted in closure of 181 tunnels in the Degelen Mountain Complex and 13 unused test holes at the Balapan Testing Field. NNC specialists conducted radioecological examination and radiation monitoring.