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Experts: Maradykovsky facility has no adverse impact on environment

January 15, 2014, 22:43 UTC+3 KIROV
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KIROV, January 15, 22:14 /ITAR-TASS/. Russia’s Maradykovsky chemical weapons disposal facility in the Kirov region, central-eastern part of European Russia, has no adverse impact on the environment, according to the results of ecological monitoring conducted in 2013.

“We took more than 1,500 samples and conducted over 9,000 tests,” Sergei Menyalin, Executive Director of the regional Centre for Ecological Control and Monitoring, told ITAR-TASS on Wednesday, January 15.

The centre’s specialists studied the presence of pollutants in the air and water within the sanitary protection area, around the facility and at places where waste is stored. “No toxic substances or products of their destruction were found in the samples studied, which means that the process of destroying combat toxic agents is complete and free of errors. The facility is operating normally,” the experts said.

Maradykovsky is now destroying the last stockpiles of toxic agents. About 1,900 pieces of ammunition containing 13 tonnes of toxic agents were stored at the plant since the middle of the 20th century.

“This is not much compared to the overall amount of toxic agents at the plant, which exceeded 6,800 tonnes,” the Federal Department for Safe Storage and Disposal of Chemical Weapons, said.

Up to date, the Maradykovsky plant has destroyed more than 98 percent of chemical weapons. It uses specially designed equipment to destroy complex ammunition. Such equipment was first used about a year ago at another chemical weapon disposal facility in Leonidovka, Penza region in central Russia.

The Maradyskovsky chemical disposal plant has destroyed 537,600 tonnes of viscous soman, Valery Kapashin, head of the Federal Department for Safe Storage and Disposal of Chemical Weapons said in September after visiting the facility.

“The plant has disposed of more than 6,770,500 tonnes of toxic agents, which makes up more than 98 percent of its stockpiles,” he said.

The remaining ammunition will be disposed of by the end of 2015. Once all stocks of chemical weapons have been disposed of, the plant will be converted to other uses.

Russia has four going chemical weapons disposal plants, Viktor Kholstov of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, told ITAR-TASS earlier. “These are Maradykovsky, Pochep, Leonidovka, and Shchuchye. Two facilities - Kambarka and Gorny - have already disposed of all of their stockpiles. The four abovementioned facilities are operating in accordance with the plans submitted by Russia to the OPCW and are disposing of the chemical weapons as scheduled,” he said.

In late 2013, Maradykovsky started destroying “complex ammunition.” The plant, where more than 40,000 aerial bombs and missile warheads were stored since 1953, had finished destroying 232.6 tonnes of sarin and more than 150 tonnes of yperite-lewisite mixtures by the star of this year. It had destroyed over 90 percent of 4.5 tonnes of V-X ammunition and is disposing of soman, one of the most dangerous nerve agents. Of 1,972.1 tonnes of this chemical agent, 864.5 tonnes had been destroyed.

The Maradykovsky chemical weapons disposal plant in the Kirov region was reported to be in Phase Four of the federal chemical disarmament programme. By the end of Phase Four, the plant will have disposed of over 6,900 tonnes of toxic agents kept in its arsenals since the middle of the 20th century.

Maradykovsky is the third Russian facility that began full-scale disposal of chemical weapons in September 2006, and the second-largest by the amount of toxic agents stored in it. Over 40,000 aerial bombs and warheads stuffed with mixtures of toxic agents had been stored in its arsenals since 1953.

Maradykovsky became operational on September 8, 2006 and became Russia' s third chemical weapons disposal plant. Over 6,900 combat nerve gases - V-x, sarin, soman and mixtures of yperite and lewisite - in over 40,000 aerial bombs and warheads had been kept there since 1953. The plant started destroying V-x gases first.

Under the relevant federal programme, Russia has to dispose of all chemical weapons by December 31, 2015. During the first stage, 400 tonnes of poison substances were eliminated by April 29, 2003, which made up 1 percent of Russia's chemical weapons (40,000 tonnes). In the course of Phase Two, Russia disposed of 8,000 tonnes of chemical weapons.

Russia has destroyed 77 percent of its chemical weapon stocks and is now the only country with chemical weapons that destroys them on a regular basis.

“As of November 30, Russia had destroyed 30,900 tonnes of combat toxic agents, which makes up 77 percent of all stocks. I hope we will go beyond 31,000 tonnes by the end of the year, and this will make up 77.6 percent of the total. Quantitatively, this is more than all the other states possessing chemical weapons have destroyed together.

Russia declared 40,000 tonnes of chemical weapons were in its possessions at the time of accession to the Chemical Weapons Convention in 1997.

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