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Armenia Launches Plant To Recycle Soviet Missile Fuel

"If 100 cubic meters of the substance leaked into the environment, all life forms would die in a radius of two kilometers, and there would be long-term soil and water pollution in a radius of 20 kilometers," Vukhrer said.
by Staff Writers
Yerevan, (AFP) May 13, 2006
Armenia late Friday inaugurated a plant that will recycle toxic components of the fuel used by Soviet-era missiles that remain on the territory of this Caucasus republic.

The 1.2-million-euro (1.55-million-dollar) plant, located some 80 kilometers from the capital Yerevan, is funded by the Organization for Security and Cooperation on Europe (OSCE), the United States, Finland, Canada and Germany.

"This plant is extremely important for the country's environment. We inherited the fuel's toxic elements from the Soviet Union, and they are dangerous not only for the environment, but also for the population," said Armenian defense minister Serj Sargsian, who attended the inauguration.

The fuel "has become more dangerous now, as the tanks in which it is stored have aged," he said.

The plant will recycle 872 tons of toxic substances, mostly nitrogen acid and nitrogen oxide, by August of next year, said its head, major Viktor Vukhrer. The fuel's components will be recycled into fertilizer.

"If 100 cubic meters of the substance leaked into the environment, all life forms would die in a radius of two kilometers, and there would be long-term soil and water pollution in a radius of 20 kilometers," Vukhrer said.

OSCE general secretary Marc Perrin de Brichambaut said international experts would monitor the plant, the recycling process and the environmental impact.

He said the plant was an example of cooperation between the organization and Armenia, which could inspire other projects in the future.

"This project will serve as an example for similar projects," Perrin de Brichambaut said at the inauguration ceremony.

The plant was built following an agreement signed in 2005 between Armenia and the OSCE.

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