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Over 400 tons of highly-toxic substances removed from Kazakhstan to Russia

16 july 2013, 14:09
Photo courtesy of business-equipment.ru
Photo courtesy of business-equipment.ru
Kazakhstan Defense Ministry and the OSCE have transported 410 tons of rocket fuel acid component known as melange to Russia, Tengrinews.kz reports.

Loading and transportation of the toxic substances away from Kazakhstan was completed on July 29, the Kazakhstan Ministry said at the press-conference. The mixed acid rocket fuel component was used for launches of medium and short range rockets and in rocket complexes of the former Soviet Army. After the disintegration of the Soviet Union stocks of this highly toxic liquid remained at the territory of several post-Soviet countries, including Kazakhstan. It was stored not far from Saryozek village in Almaty oblast.

Long presence of the highly toxic and hazardous acid in special cisterns in storage of the Defense Ministry posed danger to people and the environment. To ensure safety and prevent emergency situations, Kazakhstan Defense ministry applied to the OSCE for support in disposing of the substance.

The project cost 600 thousand Euro. Most of the funding (450 thousand Euro) came from Kazakhstan. Spain also played a significant part in making the disposal happen: it donated the remaining 150 thousand Euro for the project.

“The joint project with the OSCE to transport the extremely hazardous chemically active liquid that is a potential source of technogenic and ecological accidents away from Kazakhstan has been complected,” the Defense Ministry's message states.

Answering the question about whether the presence of the substance at the territory of Kazakhstan had any effect on the local citizens, Support Commander of the Armed Forces Colonel Talgat Dauletov said that there was no immediate danger for the local residents while the acid was stored at the territory of Kazakhstan.

“To ensure this, the Defense Ministry procured special tanks for storage of the liquid. There were no accidents there. There could have been but the Ministry did everything necessary to make sure they don't happen,” he said.

The total of 8 cisterns of the highly-toxic substance were removed from the territory of Kazakhstan. The Defense ministry controlled their transportation to the Russian border. This operation was personally supervised by Kazakhstan Defense Minister Adilbek Dzhaksybekov. There are no more reserves of melange at the territory of Kazakhstan, the Ministry stressed.

The melange will be safely disposed of at a specialized chemical plant in Russia.

Kazakhstan’s request of support in processing and disposal of the acid component has been reviewed by the OSCE since 2006. During this period Kazakhstan and OSCE experts held several rounds of talks and organized visits to the storage areas. As a result of the mutual consultations, Kazakhstan and the OSCE signed the required documents.

The OSCE help hold a similar operation in Ukraine in last 2012: 380 tonnes of the toxic rocket fuel component the had been stored in deteriorating containers was removed from Ukraine. Removal of remaining stocks is expected to be completed by the end of 2013.

By Renat Tashkinbayev

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