SHEVCHENKOVE, Ukraine, 21 December 2012 - A train carrying 380 tonnes of a toxic rocket fuel component, which had been stored in deteriorating containers, left Ukraine today for Russia as part of a project supported by the OSCE.
The toxic substance, known as mélange, will be safely disposed of at a specialized chemical plant in Russia.
The Shevchenkove site is one of six mélange stockpiles left in Ukraine following the Cold War and the fifth to be cleaned up under the OSCE project. Mélange was widely used by the armies of the former Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact to propel short- and medium-range rockets.
The removal of the fourth batch of mélange from the military depot near Shevchenkove marks the resumption of the removal process, which had to be temporarily suspended due to lack of funding. A financial contribution of more than 10 million euro from the U.S. Government last month will enable the OSCE is to complete removal of all remaining stocks of mélange in Ukraine.
The removal of the remaining stocks is expected to be completed by the end of 2013.
Before the project started, Ukraine had 16,000 tonnes of mélange. To date, 9,000 tonnes of mélange have been removed from four military storage sites: Kalynivka, Vinnytsya region; Tsenzhiv, Ivano-Frankivsk region; Radekhiv, Lviv region; Bila Tserkva, Kyiv region; and Shevchenkove, Kharkiv region. Chemical plants in Dzerzhinsk and Biysk in the Russian Federation have disposed of this hazard in a process that produces chemical products for civilian use, including paint components. All projects steps, including the loading, shipment and disposal of the mélange, are monitored by the OSCE.
The mélange disposal project, implemented by the OSCE Secretariat, is the largest OSCE donor-financed project to date. Financial support has been provided by the following OSCE participating States: the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden (Swedish International Development and Co-operation Agency) and the United States of America.