NATO launches rocket fuel oxidizer destruction project in Uzbekistan

  • 26 Nov. 2009
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  • Press Release (2009) 181
  • Issued on 25 Nov. 2009
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  • Last updated: 25 Nov. 2009 16:43

Oqtosh, Samarkand Province. On 26 November, a NATO-sponsored project will be launched in Uzbekistan, for the safe destruction of 1100 tonnes of mélange. Stocks of this highly toxic substance, which was used during the Soviet era as rocket fuel oxidiser, are being kept in storage conditions, which could pose a potential risk to the environment and local population. The clean-up process is expected to take one year, using a NATO mobile plant that has already been used succesfully in Azerbaijan.

The NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme will cover the operational costs. The NATO Maintenance and Supply Agency (NAMSA) will operate the plant in Uzbekistan together with local experts specially trained for this purpose.

The government of Uzbekistan supports the project by supplying the necessary chemicals, infrastructure and logistic support. 

The mobile plant was built three years ago, with the financial support of the NATO SPS Programme and under the operational oversight of NAMSA. It has already successfully converted over 1300 tonnes of mélange into a non-hazardous, low-grade fertilizer. NATO has invested €2,200,000 in the construction, transport, assembly and operation of the plant, as well as in technical personnel.

Opening ceremony

The launch of the project will be marked by an official ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday afternoon, 26 November, at the military base of Oqtosh (Samarkand Province).

The Minister of Defence of Uzbekistan, Mr. Kabul Berdiyev, and Dr. Chris De Wispelaere, Director of projects at the SPS Programme, on behalf of NATO Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy, will preside over the opening ceremony.

Following the ceremony, the mélange destruction plant will be visited and its function explained.

A workshop on mélange will be organized in Tashkent on Wednesday, 25 November.

Contact for more information: Information on the NATO SPS programme:

Dr. C. De Wispelaere
NATO Public Diplomacy Division
Tel. +32 2 707 4620

www.nato.int/science/index.html