Preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction
The G8’s initiative “Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction” (GP) was launched at the 2002 G8 summit in Kananaskis (Canada). For a decade it has been making a major contribution to reducing nuclear, chemical, biological and radiological proliferation risks. Initially the initiative concentrated only on the Russian Federation and tackling the Cold War era legacy of the Soviet Union. The priorities were the destruction of chemical weapons, the dismantlement of the reactor compartments of decommissioned Russian nuclear submarines and the secure storage of fissile material at nuclear weapons sites and civil research centres.
In 2002 the G8 partners (Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States) had earmarked up to US$ 20 billion for the initiative. With a pledge of up to US$ 1.5 billion, Germany is the second largest contributor. Other pledges were made by the US (US$ 10 billion), the EU (€ 1 billion), Italy (€ 1 billion), Britain (US$ 0.75 billion), France (€ 0.75 billion), Canada (US$ 0.65 billion) and Japan (US$ 0.2 billion). Russia plans to spend US$ 2 billion on destroying its chemical weapons and dismantling nuclear submarines. Other donors are Australia, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, South Korea, Sweden and Switzerland.
In 2006 GP projects were launched also in other Soviet Union successor states and since 2008 GP projects have been under way in other parts of the world as well. At their summit in Deauville (France) in 2011, G8 Heads of State and Government finally agreed, that the initiative, which was originally intended to run to the end of 2012, should continue with new priorities and new funding arrangements.
Future GP projects will be concerned with new areas such as biosecurity as well as crisis regions posing proliferation risks. From 2012 onwards projects will be funded in line with their specific requirements and not on the basis of national pledges.
Federal Foreign Office projects
The German Government’s projects in the field of chemical weapons destruction and better physical security at nuclear facilities are managed by the Federal Foreign Office, while German assistance with the dismantlement of Russian nuclear submarines is managed by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology. In carrying out these tasks the Federal Foreign Office is assisted by the Federal Office of Defense Technology and Procurement, which acts as technical adviser.
Pochep chemical weapons destruction plant, Russia
1. Destruction of chemical weapons in the Russian Federation
Germany has for over ten years now has been helping the Russian Federation to fulfil its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), i.e. to destroy its entire stocks of chemical weapons (CW) by April 2012. Its partner on the Russian side is the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
a) Gorny chemical weapons destruction plant, Saratov region (2002-2005):
destruction of the entire stocks of 1142 tonnes of mustard gas and lewisite (skin blister agents).
- construction of tank- and barrel-emptying facilities,
- equipment of stationary and mobile laboratories,
- construction of an incineration plant for destroying liquid and solid agents.
Value of German contributions: approx. € 50 million.
b) Kambarka chemical weapons destruction plant, Republic of Udmurtia (2003-2006):
- planning and construction of a complete destruction facility for residuals, with buildings (including incineration line and waste-water treatment unit), and
- a tank-emptying facility.
After three years of construction the plant was inaugurated on 1 March 2006; Russian clearance to operate the German equipment was received on 20 March 2007. By March 2009 the entire stocks of over 6300 tonnes of chemical weapons had been destroyed. Value of German contributions: approx. € 150 million.
c) Pochep chemical weapons destruction plant, Bryansk region:
destruction of some 7500 tonnes of the nerve gases Sarin, Soman and Vx, most of which was contained in more than 67,000 shells.
- Germany provided up to 142.7 million euros to fund the plant’s technological centrepiece: the construction of a massive incinerator for the destruction of chemical weapons and solid residuals, including the relevant operations centre,
- and the treatment of waste water.
The foundation stone was laid on 10 June 2008. Operations started in late 2010.
Germany has earmarked up to 20 million euros for the Kisner chemical weapons destruction plant currently being built in the Republic of Udmurtia. The money will be spent on components and equipment for process control as well as the lining of the incinerators. The project is due to be completed in summer 2013.
There are 5745 tonnes of nerve gases in Kisner awaiting destruction.
2. Physical protection of nuclear facilities in the Russian Federation
The projects implemented in this field are intended to improve the physical protection of nuclear materials kept at Russian facilities such as closed nuclear cities, nuclear research institutes and Ministry of Defence sites. The aim is to prevent fissile or highly radioactive materials falling into the hands of terrorist groups. The implementing organization for the German assistance is the Reactor Safety Association (GRS). Over the period 2003-2012 some € 167 million is earmarked for such measures. The Russian partners are the Federal Atomic Energy Authority (Rosatom) and the Ministry of Defence.
3. IAEA: Assistance for nuclear security around the world
In 2009 the German Government pledged up to € 10 million from Global Partnership funds to implement measures under the Nuclear Security Plan of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
4. Ukraine: Physical protection of highly radioactive materials
Since 2010 a project has been under way in Ukraine to improve physical protection for highly radioactive materials. With a funding volume of some 6 million euros, the project is due to be completed in late 2012.
5. Libya: Chemical weapons destruction and nuclear security
OPCW inspection in Libya (archive)
At the request of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), Germany provided logistical support for three inspections of Libyan chemical weapons storage sites, which took place in November 2011 as well as January and April 2012. Air transport to Libya for the OPCW’s team of international inspectors was supplied by the German Air Force. Libya’s transitional government is keen to meet the country’s obligation to secure all its chemical weapons and destroy them as soon as possible. Germany has moved quickly to supply the required equipment for decontamination and analysis. Working closely with the OPCW, it will continue to help Libya fulfil its obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention.
In the nuclear field Germany agreed with the Libyan authorities in May 2012 that nuclear security projects would be vetted and implemented as quickly as possible. In this connection the Federal Foreign Office liaises closely with the IAEA’s Office of Nuclear Security. On current thinking, priority will be given to:
- modernizing physical protection at the civil nuclear research centre at Tajura near Tripoli,
- improving the physical protection and storage of medical radioactive sources
- equipping border crossing points with nuclear detectors.
Preparatory work is under way with other countries on similar projects in the field of chemical weapons destruction and nuclear security.
Last updated 07.06.2012