Yangiabad (in Uzbek: New City/ New Construction) was built by the Soviets in the 50’s of the 20th century for the uranium mine workers and their families. At that time Uzbekistan was one of the main uranium raw material bases for the Soviet Union. Uranium ore was pivotal in a future arms race during the cold war.
Yangiabad was a closed city with a strictly limited access. Managed and supplied with the best goods directly from Moscow. Despite of the hard and dangerous work, the people lived there a good life, the miners and engineers were paid very well compared to other workers in Uzbekistan. During the years of exploration 64 mines were developed.
The uranium mines were definitely closed in the late 80’s officially because there was nothing more to mine for. But most likely the main reason were: to high mining costs and worse quality than, for example the ore from Uchkuduk.
More than 25 years after the city has still the problem with radioactive waste from the uranium mines. The Kattasay stream which goes through the city, according to scientific analysis is contaminated with radioactive waste.
Now not more than 280 inhabitants still live in the town. Nowadays Yangiabad is changing its character to a recreational zone. During the summer time, many people from the Tashkent area are coming to Yangiabad, where it’s easy to rent an empty flat.