The Semipalatinsk nuclear test site (SNTS) covers 18 500 km2 in the north-east of Kazakhstan near the city of Semey, previously known as Semipalatinsk. In 1949-1989, the Soviet Union conducted 456 nuclear tests there. In 1949-1962, 118 nuclear tests were conducted above ground and in the atmosphere, emitting radioactive contamination (release) into the soil and air. Some of these releases caused radioactive plumes that exposed people and territories adjacent to the site.

The goal of the SEMI-NUC project is to assess the feasibility of establishing a long-term, prospective cohort to study the health effects of low and moderate radiation exposures that resulted from the testing of nuclear weapons at the SNTS. Coordinated by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the project brings together experts in epidemiology and dosimetry who have been involved in previous studies of residents exposed to radiation in the SNTS.

The project is funded by European Commission Euratom FP7 grant No 323310.