A major Russian chemical weapons depot has destroyed 50 percent of its nerve agent, U.S. Senator Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) said on Wednesday (see GSN, Oct. 24, 2011).
In addition, the disposal plant at the Shchuchye complex on Wednesday finished rendering ineffective and treating with bitumen all chemical warfare materials emptied from stockpiled munitions, Lugar said. The site last July wrapped up the elimination of projectiles and shells that once held the substances.
Lugar commended the achievements by the Shchuchye facility, which was built to dispose of nerve agent and 2 million chemical munitions accounting for 14 percent of Russia's chemical arsenal (see GSN, Nov. 8, 2010). The site launched in 2009 and has received financial support from the U.S. Cooperative Threat Reduction program, which was established in 1991 to secure and eliminate weapons of mass destruction in former Soviet states (see GSN, May 29, 2009).
“The experience of the Nunn-Lugar program in Russia has demonstrated that the threat of weapons of mass destruction can lead to extraordinary outcomes based on mutual interest," Lugar said in a press release (see GSN, Feb. 8). "As new dangers emerge in third countries, the U.S. and Russia must work together around the world and aggressively pursue any nonproliferation opportunities that appear. Together, we can utilize the Nunn-Lugar concept to address global threats.”
“Our own national security is bolstered by a vigorous international campaign to contain and eliminate all chemical weapons stockpiles. Global terrorists remain on the prowl, looking for new targets and, no doubt, new weapons. Destroying the huge cache of weapons at Shchuchye will make Americans safer,” Lugar said in the statement.