Chkalovsk, secret city.

 Chkalovsk, a city in Sughd province of Tajikistan inside the Fergana valley. The city was founded in 1946 as a satellite of the big city of Khujand (Leninabad) during the former Soviet Union and was considered a secret city till the 1990.

The city was the headquarter of the Leninabad Mining and Chemical Combine the first-born of the nuclear industry of the USSR: from uranium mined and enriched process here they launched the first nuclear reactor and made the very first Soviet atomic bomb that and up in Stalin’s Hands.

In 1980 the 90% of the population was made by Russian citizens and their families working for the glorious nuclear industry. Chkalovsk had a luxury era at that time there was an artificial lake a big luxury hotel for the Russian establishments and the scientist and workers lives all together in the district that now has the name of Pobedy (translation: Victory -refer to the civil war-).

With the collapse of the Soviet Union began the process of mass exodus from the city. For the first 12 years, the city has left 80% of the population

Tajikistan stopped mining uranium in 1992, and by law the size of its uranium resources has been considered a state secret. Though the northern region around Chkalovsk may be depleted of uranium, Tajik officials claim that the Pamir region in the south and the mountainous Gorno-Badakhshon region in the southeast may contain substantial uranium resources.

Nuclear industry left years ago during the civil war between 1990 and 1995 but the nuclear waste remained on the territory where is still stuck with about 54.8 million tonnes of unsecured waste from the now mainly abandoned mines (UNECE data). The waste is not treated, not confined, not secured.

Till the 2013 the farmers still pasture their cattle close to the contaminated site. They blame radiation for health problems and lower crops yields.

In 2014 the UN launched a program to secure the area and built a long wall to contain the area that was contaminated by Uranium waste.

Chkalovsk is now becoming a strategic asset for Tajikistan because of it’s airport the country’s second largest airport that is the focal commercial point of the big city of Khujand and for the entire Fergana valley.