In 2002, more than a decade after the end of the Cold War, nearly 2 million rounds of chemical nerve agents enough to kill tens of millions of people--sat in decaying, poorly guarded buildings in central Russia.
Recognizing that these weapons could easily be stolen or funneled to terrorist groups from these dilapidated buildings, NTI issued a $1 million challenge grant conditioned on being matched by a minimum of $2 million in new contributions. Canada and the United Kingdom met the challenge.
The government of Canada and NTI signed an agreement to build an 11-mile railway to safely and securely transport the chemical munitions from a chemical weapons storage depot to the destruction facility at Shchuch’ye. Canada also is contributing up to $28 million for this purpose through a Canada-United Kingdom agreement.
Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) commended NTI’s efforts in bringing international attention and funds to Shchuch’ye saying, “I can think of no better use for these funds than direct contributions to dismantlement projects. NTI’s investment in the chemical weapons destruction facility at Shchuch’ye will make the world a safer place.”
The Shchuch’ye facility opened in April 2009, a product of the kind of international cooperation that is essential to reducing the global threats from nuclear, biological and chemical weapons.