- For a long time, in a difficult political and economic situation, our country launched the process of industrial destruction of chemical weapons stockpiles and completes this work ahead of schedule. Valery Petrovich, another confirmation that the Russians are slowly harnessed, but are moving fast?
- It is natural, it should be so. The Federal Target Program “Destruction of Chemical Weapon Stocks in the Russian Federation”, which turned 20 in the current year, is being implemented progressively in accordance with the tasks of the state defense order for each year. The first five years were purely preparatory, the destruction of toxic substances did not even begin. The facility in the village of Gorny, Saratov Region, was commissioned only in winter 2002 of the year. It took us another five years to destroy 20 percent of the available reserves of agents. Then the pace increased dramatically, and over the next five years we have destroyed more than 60 percent. But at present, this process has slowed down again, because of the seven facilities created, six have completely completed their tasks, and since 2016, we have only one left - in the village of Kizner of the Udmurt Republic.
Certain problems arose at each stage, and it is natural that there were more of them at the beginning. At that time, we had no experience in organizing the industrial destruction of chemical weapons, there were no trained personnel, the regulatory framework was developed from scratch, technologies were tested, facilities were built. All this was carried out in parallel along with public education in the regions. And when the mechanism was created and debugged, "go fast," which is also natural. But we never allowed any haste, especially violations of technological or production discipline. The process of destruction of chemical weapons in Russia is under control, and it is manageable.
“Five percent of the total stock of chemical weapons in the country remains, about two thousand tons of chemical agents. The program is calculated until December 2018. That is, you can safely destroy 2,5 percent of reserves per year, and the Federal Office proposes to speed up this process and complete it before the end of 2017?
- Yes. Nor will there be any hurry. If according to the technology it is supposed to withstand chemical agents with reagents in the reactor-reactor for a certain time, then it will not be reduced for a second. At our last operating facility in Kizner, chemical artillery ammunition is stored, and they require a lot of labor. For example, in a bomb bomb half a ton of agents. And in the artillery chemical ammunition contains only three or five kilograms. How many they need to submit to the line of demilitarization to destroy 500 kilograms? We have a reserve - we can attract a lot of people, use two production lines at the same time, organize work around the clock, in three shifts, and so on. That is, without any fuss or haste, experienced specialists can by no means detriment to safety to destroy the remnants of chemical weapons by December 2017. We all counted. They submitted their calculations and proposals to the State Commission on Chemical Disarmament and the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
- What caused such a need? The presidential program of chemical disarmament also came under the sequestration?
- The reduction in funding has affected all federal programs and ours is no exception. We did not receive a significant amount this year. In addition, the Federal Office is charged with carrying out work to eliminate the consequences of the activities of facilities for the storage and destruction of chemical weapons after the completion of the program. These events are already being held at two sites (“Gorny” in the Saratov region and “Kambarka” in the Udmurt Republic), at four we are embarking on them (“Pochep” in Bryansk, “Schuchye” in Kurgan, “Leonidovka” in Penza and “Maradykovsky "In the Kirov region). The program of liquidation of the consequences of the activity is also quite expensive, and several tens of billions of rubles will be required for its implementation. It is necessary to build additional production facilities - crushers, thermal furnaces, and, on the contrary, dismantle something. Decontamination of equipment and production buildings is coming. Such a program has been developed by us, it has been coordinated in most ministries and departments, but its adoption for a known reason related to the budget is delayed. I believe that today no one is allowed to sit, resting on his laurels, and to demand funding. Everyone should look for opportunities to optimize costs. In our case, it is also the fate of thousands of people who honestly and selflessly fulfilled the task. We cannot reduce the collectives of facilities where the main work has been completed, because only highly qualified professionals working there can competently and safely carry out the elimination of the consequences of the activity. Nobody will do it equally well. And without bringing objects to a safe state, it is impossible to organize new production facilities on them. Such a task has been set, a special commission has been created to find investors for the conversion of all our facilities. There are specific proposals to this effect. Moreover, some investors are already rushing us, for example, in the Kurgan region. They are ready even tomorrow to use several buildings of the Shchuchye object in the organization of pharmaceutical production. But how can I put them on the territory of the object, if there still need to take measures to eliminate the consequences of the activity. These factors and led us to develop a proposal to accelerate the completion of the process of destruction of chemical weapons, optimize costs, to save the teams and begin liquidation work.
- If the adoption of a new program to eliminate the consequences of the activities of the facilities is delayed, what are your branches doing today?
- As I have already said, at six of our seven facilities, at present, the stockpiles of chemical weapons have been completely destroyed. Four of them coped with their tasks at the end of 2015, Gorny and Kambarka completed the destruction of their stocks of toxic agents in 2005 and 2009 respectively. There we started the liquidation works earlier and the first stage has already been completed. The production sites in Gorny and Kambarka are sanitized, they are clean, safe and ready for the arrival of investors. It remains to carry out work on the decommissioning of warehouses for the storage of chemical weapons.
At facilities that completed the destruction of toxic substances last year, due to lack of funding, we were forced to reduce some of our civilian personnel in the spring. Seeing our difficulties, in the summer the Prime Minister signed a decree on the allocation of a billion rubles for the liquidation of the effects of the facilities for the storage and destruction of chemical weapons 2,7. We returned the dismissed specialists, we can maintain the property, making utility and other payments. At these sites, work is underway to eliminate the consequences of the activity. It is clear that we do not have the opportunity to build the capital facilities necessary for this, but the preparation — the one that is possible under these conditions — is being carried out.
- What is the fate of the servicemen of the units who were guarding and were in constant readiness to eliminate the consequences of emergency situations, which, fortunately, did not happen? After all, their mission at six sites was completed.
“The servicemen have honorably fulfilled their duty.” Not a single unauthorized entry of unauthorized persons was allowed, there were no other emergency situations related to the protection of sensitive territories. At six sites, military units were disbanded, and all were provided with new places for further service in the RKhBZ troops and units of other combat arms. We solemnly held our officers at a general meeting at the Federal Office in Moscow. I have no doubt that they will worthily serve in those places where the Motherland sent them. These are experienced officers who have completed an excellent school; many of them will undoubtedly reach great heights in their military careers. Thank you again for the service, for that historical mission to destroy stockpiles of chemical weapons, which they successfully completed.
- And the military camps they occupied were also transferred to someone? I had to be in them and see how they are modernly equipped.
- There really are all the necessary conditions for military service. We have built new security systems, a barracks fund, headquarters, parade grounds, canteens. The military men occupying the township highly appreciate all this, I personally receive words of gratitude from the commanders for the inheritance they are given to them.
- What is the fate of the Federal Office and its specialists?
- Our officers and civilian personnel demonstrated in practice the ability to work in the conditions of the strictest observance of technological and production discipline, high professionalism and courage. Their experience can and should be used for the good of the country. It is not by chance that we are instructed to carry out the elimination of the consequences of the activities of the objects. The implementation of this program will take several more years, so the Federal Administration has something to do in the coming years.
- How are relations with regional authorities? Feel their support?
- I constantly communicate with the leaders of the regions in which our facilities are located. Most recently, a meeting was held with the Acting Governor of the Kirov Region, Igor Vasilyev. I saw interest in finding a further way to use the created high-tech object "Maradykovsky." The leaders of the Bryansk, Penza, Kurgan regions and the Udmurt Republic occupy the same position. They are ready to provide all the resources they have and opportunities to attract investors to the established production facilities so that the facilities will be redeveloped, and local residents will have well-paid jobs. However, we first need to bring the site to a safe state. In order for this not to become a brake, you need to take a program to eliminate the consequences of activities and open funding. We are working with the regional authorities on this.
- In the center of Kirov solemnly opened a stele in memory of the successful destruction of chemical weapons in the Vyatka land. This is a tribute to the work clearly and safely. We see a reversal of public opinion of the local population - at first most were against chemical weapons being destroyed at their storage sites, and today they are erecting monuments.
- This is the fourth such stela, the same installed in the Kurgan, Penza and Bryansk regions. We are grateful to people for this memory. I believe that the work done by the Federal Office and the teams of our branch facilities deserves it. They worked selflessly, heroically, and did not allow the pollution of the environment when performing such a dangerous task.
- The Federal Office is disbanding its regiments, the number of servicemen in other divisions is decreasing, and the winners of the “Warrior of the Commonwealth-2016” competition among the armies of the CIS countries have again been representatives of your units, both among men and women. And this is not the first time ...
- For the eighth time in a row, our soldiers take first places in the All-Army competition held among those called up for service under the contract, and then become winners of an international competition. By the way, in the Olympics of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, our small team, by the standards of the Armed Forces, repeatedly became the champion.
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