The place where the first Soviet atomic bomb was dropped looks like a small natural pond.
The bumpy roads that lead to it course through stark, but picturesque, countryside. The river Irtysh, which flows down from China and on to Russia, divides this northeastern part of Kazakhstan into steppes to the south and forests to the north.
The beauty hides an ugly history.
The older people here grew up watching huge clouds mushroom in the sky overhead. Man-made earthquakes regularly shook the ground under their feet.