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Melange disposal project launched in Azerbaijan
On 4 July 2006, NATO Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy, Jean Fournet, and the first deputy Prime Minister of Azerbaijan, Abid Sharifov, officially inaugurated a melange conversion plant in Azerbaijan.
Melange, a highly toxic and corrosive rocket fuel oxidiser formerly used by Warsaw Pact countries, is currently stored in containers that are progressively deteriorating. The high risk of leaks represents a serious threat to the environment and public health.
A mobile solution
The Azeri government requested NATO’s co-operation to deal with this threat notably during the meeting of the Science Committee in Baku, Azerbaijan, in 2004. In response, the Committee approved a melange disposal project under the NATO Programme for Security through Science.
A mobile melange treatment plant has been developed as a Science for Peace project. With the NATO Maintenance and Supply Agency (NAMSA) as the project's executing agency, the plant has been installed in Azerbaijan to begin neutralising the about 1,200 tonnes of melange stored in the country. Using an environmentally-safe chemical process, the plant will be able to convert more than 5 tonnes of melange per day into a non-hazardous, low-grade fertiliser material.
The Azeri government is participating in the project, which is implemented under Azerbaijan’s Individual Partnership Action Plan, by supplying the necessary infrastructure, consumables and logistic support.
NATO’s ultimate goal is to demonstrate the effectiveness of this conversion technology in order to assist also other Partner countries in melange disposal projects.