Sitting atop the second largest uranium reserves in the world, Kazakhstan has not followed in the former Soviet Union’s footsteps toward military power.
Instead, it is at the forefront of the global movement for a world free of nuclear weapons.
Where test explosions once shook the earth, scientists are now researching peaceful applications for atomic energy.
“Our country decided that the might of our new state would be determined not by our nuclear muscle, but by our total rejection of it,” Nursultan Nazarbayev, who remains president two decades later, said in a recent speech.
The number of nuclear tests worldwide has fallen dramatically in the last decade, during which only North Korea has broken a de facto worldwide moratorium.
(READ the Reuters story in the Daily Times)