Monday, June 1, 2009

Russia Opens Chemical Weapons Destruction Plant

Via VOA News & FAS -

A massive plant designed to destroy two million chemical weapons opened Friday in Siberia.

The plant, funded with more than $1 billion from the U.S, is seen as a milestone in cooperation between Washington and Moscow in disarmament.

U.S. Senator Richard Lugar says peace and prosperity for the U.S. and Russia depend on the two countries ensuring their weapons stockpiles are not used and do not fall into the wrong hands. He is one of the architects of the program to help Russia and former Soviet republics destroy weapons of mass destruction.

U.S. officials say each weapon, some small enough to carry in a briefcase, has the potential to kill tens of thousands of people.

The weapons elimination plant is located in Shchuchye, about 1,600 kilometers from Moscow.


Russia is obliged by treaty to eliminate its vast stores of Class I chemical weapons by 2012, however the United States GAO has announced it does not expect Russia to reach 100% destruction until 2027.

Class I (or Schedule 1) substances, in the sense of the Chemical Weapons Convention, are chemicals which can either be used as chemical weapons themselves or used in the manufacture of chemical weapons and which have no, or very limited, uses outside of chemical warfare.

Sarin, VX, Mustard gas & Ricin are all examples of Class I substances.

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