US Failure to Liquidate Chemical Weapons Worries Russia
An important historic event happened somewhat unnoticed by the public. Russia liquidated the last chemical ammunition supply of the huge Soviet chemical arsenal. The deadly chemical stock was so big that we, like the USA, could destroy all life on the planet several times over.
And now, Russia destroyed its chemical arsenal ahead of schedule. But the Americans have 3 times postponed the elimination of chemical weapons. Now, the President of the United States, Donald Trump, as the US Commander-in-Chief, owns the world's largest chemical arsenal. Does this cause concern? Yes, it does. Dmitry Petrov has the details of the historic event.
This is all that is left of the deadly chemical weapons, soman, sarin and the most dangerous VX gas. These soft cases contain lime impregnated with the wastes of the last stage of processing. It's the fourth hazard class, that is no more dangerous than salt. But either way, one has to wear a chemical protection suit, gloves, and a respirator.
This is Object 1206: storage and elimination of chemical weapons, «Leonidovka» in the Penza region. Although it is more correct to put it as «storage of chemical weapons elimination waste» because there is no ammunition left at all. In Leonidovka, the last chemical bomb was dismantled and melted two years ago. And the last artillery VX ammunition was eliminated last Wednesday at the Kizner plant at the President's close watch.
In a sealed chamber, the robot drills a hole in the projectile, drains the poison, rinses the shell of the projectile, and sends it to the heat treatment.
— Commander-in-chief, the chemical weapons in the Russian Federation have been totally eliminated.
Vladimir Putin: «Thank you, congratulations. It's truly a historic event, considering the massive amount of chemical weapons inherited from the Soviet Union, an amount that, experts believe, would be enough to destroy life on the planet several times. Russia was one of the first to sign this treaty and has worked closely with its partners to relieve humankind of the threat of the use and proliferation of such barbaric, lethal weapons. On a related note, I would like to remind you of Russia’s key role in resolving the chemical weapons issue in Syria».
It was the Russian scientists who developed the technology for the 100% utilization of chemical warfare agents. There are two stages. First, the toxic agent is neutralized with a neutralizing substance, and then proceeds to the furnace.
Then the gases and ash are repeatedly purified, including through a solution of quicklime at the last stage. Shell bodies are processed separately. All Russian facilities for the storage and destruction of chemical weapons follow this pattern.
Object 1204 in Pochep, Bryansk region. Here the last munition was destroyed on September 26, 2015. Now the decontamination of the equipment, which was used to eliminate chemical ammunition, is being conducted in a timely manner. It is cut into small fragments, treated with compounds, burned in the furnace to eliminate every trace of toxic agents.
— Number 101, guys!
— Listening! Start loading the metal!
— Loading started. Cart 16 has been loaded. The metal weighs 1.335 tons. Sending to the entrance lock.
— Roger that.
Viktor Kotsarev: «Out of the 25 years of work of the Federal Agency, we celebrated an anniversary in August, 15 years were spent to eliminate chemical weapons. No accidents or emissions of contaminating agents to the atmosphere have been detected at all the 7 facilities».
Wastes are stored at landfills like this one. These concrete enclosures, divided into compartments, are a complex engineering and technical construction.
Anatoly Kuzmin, landfill manager: «It's walled-up, plastered, and painted. It's the final stage. In the future, if a method of its usage in the national economy is found, it will be opened and used».
Waste can be stored here indefinitely. And thus even a theoretical possibility of harmful substances' getting to the rivers and lakes is excluded.
Evgeny Nikolaev, head of the operations and planning department: «At a depth of 2 — 2.5 meters, there is a geomembrane that doesn't allow any surface water to seep into the soil, nor groundwater to get through this geomembrane into the landfill».
And here's the bio-monitoring site, right on the factory's territory, next to the main buildings. There are pheasants, chickens and geese, and even a pack of squirrels. This is an ostrich, Innokenty. His neighbor is a goat, Manya. Let's treat her to some grapes. And there are rabbits over there. If they propagate, then the ecology is OK.
But even now, when there is not any kind of poisonous substances left at all, sanitary doctors are closely monitoring the environment around the clock. All this work is led by a military general, Chernobyl veteran and scientist, by the way, Doctor of Science, Valery Kapashin. He's the head of the Federal Agency for Safe Storage and Elimination of Chemical Weapons, and a high-caliber professional.
Valery Kapashin: «Sooner or later people will realize what exactly did we do by destroying 40,000 tons of contaminating agents. Just imagine this amount. Why did we complete it 3 years ahead the schedule? First, it's due to the experience, secondly, improvement of technology. Everything comes with experience. Besides that, more than 2 billion rubles have been saved. This is the result».
But the United States is constantly disrupting the disarmament schedule, including because the technology is not well-proven. Hence, the environment is damaged.
Vladimir Putin: As is known, the largest chemical weapons arsenals belonged to Russia and still belongs to the United States that, regrettably, do not abide by their commitments on deadlines for chemical disarmament. The deadlines have been postponed three times, including supposedly due to a shortage of necessary budget funds, which sounds strange, to be honest, but let it be. We expect the United States and other countries to fulfill their commitments under international agreements.
The Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade plans to give a full load of work to the plants that took part in the chemical weapons disarmament. Some will neutralize industrial waste, others will host new chemical industries.
Dmitry Petrov, Igor Belogurov, and Alexei Lyapin for Vesti — News of the Week.