The US and Russia have opened a huge plant to decommission about two-million chemical weapons. Located in southern Siberia, the plant was built with the help of one billion dollars from the US government.
The 25-structure complex is the size of a small town. It was largely funded by the US, under a programme called the Cooperative Threat Reduction initiative.
The plant has been built to help Russia cope with its vast Cold War arsenal of weapons of mass destruction.
Russia is obliged to eliminate its vast stores of Class I weapons, chemicals that have no use other than in arms.
At a news conference, the Russian Minister of Industry said Moscow would continue with efforts to meet its obligations.
Viktor Khristenko, Russian Minister of Industry, said, "We have already destroyed 36.6 percent of chemical weapon reserves on Russian Federation territory. Despite everything, despite any doubts that can appear, we will carry out our liability of the destruction of 45 percent of reserves by the end of the year."
Russian officials have said the plant will allow the country to meet its treaty obligations of destroying all chemical weapons by 2012.
|The US and Russia have opened a huge plant to decommission about|
two-million chemical weapons. (CCTV.com)
The weapons to be destroyed at Shchuchye contain in total about 6,000 tons of nerve agent. These include sarin and VX. In all it's about 14 percent of the chemical weapons that Russia is committed to destroy.
The opening of the plant comes at a symbolically important time. Russia and the US are taking initial steps toward working out a successor to the START nuclear arms reduction treaty that expires at the end of this year.
Editor: Zhang Pengfei | Source: CCTV.com