U.S. Destroys Last Of Chemical Weapons—A Mandated Act Decades In The Making


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The Department of Defense announced Friday that the last of the country’s “obsolete” stockpile of chemical weapons was safely destroyed, meeting commitments that were ratified in 1997’s Chemical Weapons Convention.

Key Facts

The stockpile contained weapons that dated back to World War I and once “comprised more than 30,000 tons of chemical warfare agents,” according to the DOD.

President Joe Biden released a statement on the stockpile’s destruction, saying other nations, notably Russia and Syria, should comply with the Chemical Weapons Convention and “admit their undeclared programs, which have been used to commit brazen atrocities and attacks.”

The deadline to meet the Chemical Weapons Convention, which was also signed by 120 countries, including Russia, is September 30 of this year.

The final weapon, a sarin nerve agent-filled M55 rocket, was destroyed Friday at Kentucky’s Blue Grass Army Depot—a facility used since 2019 to safely destroy more than 523 tons of chemical agents.

Surprising Fact

The stockpile’s destruction marks the first time an international body, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, has verified destruction of a full category of declared weapons of mass destruction, according to Biden.

Big Number

$42 billion. That’s the approximate amount of money it cost to complete the destruction of the chemical weapons over more than 30 years, according to the New York Times.

What To Watch For

The facilities used to get rid of the weapons will enter a “closure phase for the next three to four years,” according to Michael S. Abaie, a DOD executive officer. The process will include secondary waste disposal, decontamination of facilities and equipment and the demolition of some facilities, along with other steps.

Key Background

The safe destruction of the weapons concluded decades of a job that was well behind schedule and once projected to cost around $1.4 billion. Countries such as Britain, India and Russia claim to have destroyed their declared stockpiles in the last 16 years. However, officials have been suspicious of a potential undeclared stock owned by Russia. While the U.S. stockpiles were being destroyed, new legislation required the DOD to demonstrate technologies other than incineration to destroy chemical weapons.

Further Reading

U.S. Is Destroying the Last of Its Once-Vast Chemical Weapons Arsenal (New York Times)

US Completes Chemical Weapons Stockpile Destruction Operations (Department of Defense)

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Lisa Holden
Lisa Holden
Lisa Holden is a news writer for LinkDaddy News. She writes health, sport, tech, and more. Some of her favorite topics include the latest trends in fitness and wellness, the best ways to use technology to improve your life, and the latest developments in medical research.

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