There are nuclear and poisonous tank shells
What dangers are there worldwide?
The seas and oceans
According to a report by Dr. Paul Walker ("Assessing the Dangers and Removal of Sea-Dumped Munitions and Other Hazardous Debris") between 1946 and 1965, 300,000 tons of chemical and biological substances were thrown into the world's oceans. These poisonous ammunition is currently being secured, but it is unlikely that it will ever be possible to completely fish it out of the ocean.
@ elsewhere on the net:
1. The James Monterey Institute has published a map showing chemical weapons dumped in the sea, giving an idea of the magnitude of the problem.
2. The Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey has released a video.
3. "Sunken Gift", a documentary by ARTE (2014): to borrow or buy here in the French version as VoD, an accompanying internet dossier is available here in German.
The soils and the earth
Some areas of the world have already been completely contaminated by the use of chemical weapons, such as the so-called Red Zone (832 km2) around Verdun during the First World War. The exact locations of the drops, where the poisonous duds are today, were classified by the French state as secret, with the official reason to want to deter collectors.
The French environmental group "Robin des Bois" has started to take stock of all war waste on French land, particularly in the north-east of the country. It is the heavy and poisonous legacy of three wars that raged in this part of France. Between 2008 and 2011 the group recorded 566 ammunition finds. Here is an excerpt from their research report:
Between 1914 and 1918, one billion shells of all calibers, equivalent to 15 million tons of metal, were fired in the north and east of France. A quarter of these grenades did not explode, 6% of them contain poison gas.
The environmental group "Robin des Bois"
"The French regions of Nord-Pas-de-Calais, Lorraine, Champagne-Ardenne, Ile-de-France, Picardy, Alsace and Franche-Comté are areas that were besieged during the wars. The north and east of France were between 1914 and In 1918 one billion shells of all calibers, equivalent to 15 million tons of metal, were fired. A quarter of these shells did not explode, 6% of them contained poison gas. 1700 French communities were bombed in World War II. 14% of British bombs and 16% of German bombs never exploded and most of them were bored up to four meters deep, 20% up to six meters deep, 10% up to seven meters deep. 1% of these duds are now more than nine meters deep. In Toxic pollutants collect in the soils, cellars, rivers, lakes, canals and in the groundwater. These continue to pose a risk.
In these seven regions of northern and eastern France, 25 million people live and work side by side with these duds in an area completely disfigured by bomb craters, shell holes, mine craters and trenches.
Every year the sugar manufacturers in the region harvest hundreds of duds, old grenades, rockets and cartridge cases together with the sugar beets. "
You can find an article about the work of the environmental organization here.
What to do with the waste of war?
The project SECOIA: France is far behind in terms of the destruction of chemical weapons found on its territory that were dropped there before 1946. Until 1994, chemical weapons in France were simply detonated at sea, in the Bay of Somme. But since the signing of the Chemical Weapons Convention in 1997, the disarmament process has to be carried out according to environmentally friendly standards.
After it was delayed for years, a total of 267 tons of ammunition from the First World War, which corresponds to around 18,000 shells, will finally be destroyed from 2016 as part of the SECOIA program (from French: Site d'Elimination de Chargement d'Objets Identifiés Anciens). All duds found in France, around 20-25 tons per year, are stored on a military site near Suippes in the Marne department. There is a secured depot there that was originally built for nuclear waste and is now demilitarized.
With 42 tons of destroyed ammunition stocks that are to be disposed of annually as part of the SECOIA project, it will take ten to twelve years to dismantle the interim storage facility.
Head of the coordination office for
chemical ammunition (C4)
Since September 2012 the Coordination Office for Chemical Munitions (C4) has set up a mobile unit for disarmament (UMD) there, which can defuse chemical weapons on site and thus tackle the major task of destroying chemical weapons, albeit at a relatively slow pace.
In 2013, the UMD was only able to neutralize 117 ammunition. In the coming year, the SECOIA project will finally start work in the Mailly warehouse, 70 kilometers from the interim warehouse near Suippes. For this purpose, the temporarily stored toxic ammunition stock must be transferred. 135 transport trips are planned annually in four armored trucks.
"With 42 tons of destroyed ammunition stocks that are to be disposed of annually as part of the SECOIA project, it will take ten to twelve years to dismantle the interim storage facility. You have to factor in the annual new discoveries," explains the head of the C4 coordination office, Pierre -Yves Channaux in an article in the French newspaper "L'Union".
The authorities naturally want to ensure that all of this is done under the highest security precautions. But the residents of the region are watching these transports very closely. Jean-Raymond Egon, the mayor of Suippes, speaks in an interview with the director Fabienne Lips-Dumas about the so-called "Vimy Affair". In 2001, 55 tons of chemical weapons, which had previously been stored in the open air, were transported to Suippes with the utmost urgency because they were already in an advanced stage of decay. For this purpose, 12,500 people from the area around Suippes were resettled for a few days: "Vimy fueled the fear of the transport of chemical ammunition stocks. Because at that time we saw this chemical ammunition waste arrive at our place. It attracted a lot of attention, it was almost like advertising that the convoy, for example, would be completely closed on the highway . Everyone was wondering what was happening here. Today, the chemical ammunition supplies regularly arrive at Suippes. But there are no longer any closed roads and no special special transports. In my opinion, that is much more reassuring. One would have more in advance have to talk about it, have to better inform the population. From the time I know that these toxic weapons are secured and properly stored, I also know that there is no danger for me or the residents here. "
Despite the mayor's openly revealed confidence, the decision to relocate ammunition stocks does not always win approval everywhere. In the United States, there have been several serious incidents on the fringes of such transports: for example, in 2005 a freight train derailed near a small town in North Carolina released 60 tons of chlorine. The accident resulted in the death of nine people and another 250 injured.
@ndersowo on the net:
1. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, around 12,000 chemical plants in the United States threaten more than a million people living in close proximity to these plants: Mother Jones: Map: Is There a Risky Chemical Plant Near You? Based on this knowledge, a citizens' association was formed with the aim of warning the public and confronting politicians with the problem:
2. Also read the interview with Daniel Froment in the newspaper “Le Nouvel Observateur” (in French). Froment is a well-known military engineer who helped shape French policy on chemical weapons testing and was involved in international negotiations on various political crises. It also explains where the acronym SECOIA actually comes from.
The threat from terrorist organizations
Andrew Weber was Secretary of State in the US Department of Defense from 2009 to 2014, responsible for nuclear, chemical and biological defense programs. He knows the geopolitical issues related to weapons of mass destruction and speaks about the risks terrorist organizations pose to international security in this area.
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