Russia has launched a new facility to destroy its Soviet-era chemical weapons stockpiles, the country's technological watchdog Rostechnadzor said.
The plant in the town of Pochep, located 250 miles southwest of Moscow, is a sixth facility built in recent years to meet Russia's international obligations to destroy all its chemical weapons by April 2012.
"The technology used at the Pochep facility allows us to completely destroy not only chemical agents and products of detoxification, but also the munitions," head of Rostechnadzor, Nikolai Kutyin was quoted by the agency's press service on Saturday.
Rostechnadzor said four air bombs were dismantled in the first day of the plant's operation.
The Pochep facility is expected to scrap about 19 percent of Russia's stockpiles, which total 40,000 metric tons.
Russia signed the Chemical Weapons Convention banning the development, production, stockpiling, transfer, and use of chemical arms in 1993, and ratified it in 1997. The country has so far destroyed about half of its chemical weapons arsenal.
The country has allocated $7.18 billion from the federal budget for the implementation of the program, and has previously built five chemical weapon destruction plants — in Gorny (Saratov Region), Kambarka (Republic of Udmurtia), Nizhny Novgorod, the Maradykovo complex (Kirov Region), and Siberia's Kurgan Region.
By 2016-2017, Russia aims to finish all the remaining work under the project, including decontamination and equipment dismantlement.
MOSCOW, November 28 (RIA Novosti)