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Environment

Russia Opens Chemical Weapons Destruction Facility

June 30, 2008 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 86, ISSUE 26

Russia has commissioned a chemical weapons destruction facility near Leonidovka to facilitate compliance with the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention. Under CWC Russia and the U.S. agreed to destroy all of their chemical weapons by 2012. The new facility was built at a chemical storage depot located 350 miles southeast of Moscow. Eventually, 17%, or about 7,500 tons, of Russia's chemical weapons stockpiles—including sarin, soman, and VX—are to be destroyed at the site. The opening of this facility underscores Russia's commitment to eliminating its chemical weapons stockpiles by the CWC deadline, said Victor Kholstov, head of the Russian chemical weapons destruction program. To date, 20% of Russia's declared 44,000-ton stockpile has been destroyed. The Leonidovka facility will be the fourth of seven planned facilities to start destroying chemical weapons when operations commence in August.

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