U.S. Destroys Final Remaining Chemical Weapons Stockpile
The final remaining munitions in the U.S. chemical weapons stockpile were destroyed at the Blue Grass Army Depot in Kentucky. Efforts to eliminate the stockpile began in 1990.
A sarin nerve agent-filled M55 rocket was the only remaining munition and was destroyed by a team led by Bechtel National, which used “neutralization and explosive destruction technologies.”
President Joe Biden put out a statement on Friday, urging nations around the world to join America in eradicating chemical weapons.
“Today — as we mark this significant milestone — we must also renew our commitment to forging a future free from chemical weapons,” he said. “I continue to encourage the remaining nations to join the Chemical Weapons Convention so that the global ban on chemical weapons can reach its fullest potential.”
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Congress ordered the destruction of the stockpile in 1986 when it was at its peak of more than 30,000 tons of chemical warfare agents. Legislation has required the Pentagon to find ways to destroy the weapons by means other than incarceration, which resulted in a decades-long exploration.
As part of the Chemical Weapons Convention, the U.S. and other signatories are required to destroy their chemical weapons stockpile by September 30, 2023, a deadline that is fast approaching. In his remarks, Biden condemned some countries for not acting in accord with the treaty by allowing their armed forces to employ chemical weapons.
“Russia and Syria should return to compliance with the Chemical Weapons Convention and admit their undeclared programs, which have been used to commit brazen atrocities and attacks,” Biden stated. “We will continue to stand with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to prevent the stockpiling, production, and use of chemical weapons around the world. And together with our partners, we will not stop until we can finally and forever rid the world of this scourge.”
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