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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Stepnogorsk / Stepnagorsk
Scientific and Technical Institute for Microbiology

The Stepnogorsk bioweapons facility in Northern Kazakhstan was once the world's largest biological warfare development and production facility, with a nominal annual production capacity of 300 tons of agent. In 1983, the 32-year Ken Alibek, formerly known as Kanatjan Alibekov, was appointed director of the research team that developed the Soviet Union's most powerful weapons-grade anthrax. Alibek was appointed as first deputy chief of research and production for the Soviet biological-weapons program in 1989. Vladimir Bugreyev is currently the director of the Stepnogorsk Scientific and Technical Institute for Microbiology.

Stepnogorsk was established in the 1964, though it is not marked on Soviet maps and it has been variously designated Makinut-2, Tselinograd-25, and Aksu. The area also includes facility for the extraction of uranium ore associated with the uranium mining areas and deposits are in the north-central region in the Akmola and Kokshetau oblasts of Kazakstan. The Tselinny Gorno-Khimichskii Kombinat (TGK) mines and refinery, centerd on the Stepnogorsk district, was at one time the second largest uranium producer in the Soviet Union.

The center for the manufacture of bacteriological weapons was built ten kilometers away from the settlement of Stepnogorsk, a town whose population had grown to over 60,000 by 1989. Building 221 is the heart of the production facility, consisting of three dozen bioreactors with a comprehensive protection system. In late 1990, Biopreparat researchers tested Marburg virus on monkeys and other small animals in special explosion-test chambers at the Stepnogorsk plant.

Biological weapons production facility bunker.Biological weapons production facility bunker.
Biological weapons production facility bunker.
2,000 liter fermentor
2,000 liter fermentor at
biological weapons facility.

Under a Cooperative Threat Reduction agreement between America and Kazakhstan, about $3 million has been allocated for the dismantling of military centers, including the one at Stepnogorsk. In 1998 the U.S. Civilian Research and Development Foundation [CRDF] made three (3) additional awards for projects that include scientists from Kazakhstan's Stepnogorsk defense biological research facility. The Stepnogorsk facility is the focus of a special effort by the American and Kazakh governments to redirect defense scientific and engineering resources to civilian work. The Department of State is providing $210,000 to support these additional projects.

Corona Imagery of Stepnogorsk

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Sources and Methods

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Page last modified: 24-07-2011 04:49:19 ZULU