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OPCW: All sarin precursors removed from Syria have been destroyed

The OPCW reported Wednesday that the U.S. maritime vessel, the Cape Ray, has successfully destroyed 581 metric tons of sarin precursor chemicals removed from Syria, and is now destroying the remaining 19.8 metric tons of sulfur mustard.
By JC Finley   |   Aug. 14, 2014 at 12:21 PM

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THE HAGUE, Netherlands, Aug. 14 (UPI) -- The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons announced Wednesday that all 581 metric tons of sarin precursor chemicals removed from Syria have been successfully destroyed.

The U.S. government container ship, the Cape Ray, was specially outfitted to neutralize the chemicals at-sea.

"The precursor chemicals -- methylphosphonyl difluoride, or DF -- were neutralized with two Field Deployable Hydrolysis Systems (FDHS) that were installed on the Cape Ray for the purpose of destroying the most dangerous chemicals in Syria's stockpile. The FDHS units mix the chemicals with fresh water and reagents and then heat the mixture, which reduces the toxicity of the chemicals by at least 99.9 percent. All of the resulting effluents, or reaction mass, from hydrolysis of the DF are stored aboard the ship."

With the sarin precursors destroyed, personnel aboard the Cape Ray are now working to neutralize the remaining chemicals: 19.8 metric tons of sulfur mustard.

OPCW inspectors are on board the Cape Ray to monitor and verify the destruction operations.

Once completed, the Cape Ray will transport the low-level waste to Finland and Germany for disposal at land-based facilities.

UN Security Council Resolution 2118 for the "Scheduled Destruction of Syria's Chemical Weapons" was adopted on September 27, 2013.

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