Russian chemical plant completes destruction of nerve agent

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A Russian chemical weapons disposal facility has completed the destruction of VX nerve agent, a regional government official said on Monday.
NIZHNY NOVGOROD, December 1 (RIA Novosti) - A Russian chemical weapons disposal facility has completed the destruction of VX nerve agent, a regional government official said on Monday.

VX nerve agent is one of the most toxic substances ever developed. A tiny amount of VX is fatal, and death usually occurs within an hour of exposure.

Mikhail Manin, a department head in the Kirov region government, said that as of December 1, more than 4,500 tons of toxic agents (a total of 23,473 chemical weapons) were destroyed at the Maradykovsky chemical plant.

However, he did not say what proportion the nerve agent constituted of the total amount.

Russia signed the Chemical Weapons Convention, which bans the development, production, stockpiling, transfer, and use of chemical arms in 1993 and ratified it in 1997. The country is to destroy all its declared arsenal of 40,000 metric tons of chemical weapons by 2012.

Up to now Russia has destroyed an aggregate of 11,600 metric tons of chemical weapons.

Russia has allocated $7.18 billion from the federal budget for the implementation of the program and has built at least three chemical weapons destruction plants - at Gorny, in the central Saratov Region, at Kambarka, in the Republic of Udmurtia, and at the Maradykovsky complex in the Kirov Region.

A total of seven destruction facilities will be used in the process.

Western nations pledged at the 2002 Kananaskis G8 summit to help Russia financially and technologically to destroy or convert its chemical weapons and production facilities as part of the Global Partnership against the Proliferation of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction.

However, the country has so far received just over 25% of the promised $2 billion in financial assistance.

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