The project implementation framework foresees creation of a Project Implementation Team (PIT). The PIT will be a combined effort consisting of staff from the OSCE PCUk and the OSCE Secretariat: National Project Officer and Project Assistant at PCUk and a Project Officer at the OSCE Secretariat/CPC. Additionally, PIT will be supplemented by two international consultants and an OSCE selected contractor.
This project does not envisage use of implementing partners. Nevertheless, sucess of the project is predicated on the strong partnership among the Project Implementation Team, Contractor, and MoD staff.
The objective of the project is: To assist the government of Ukraine in eliminating the chemical hazardous waste chemicals (liquid rocket fuel components) stored by the Armed Forces of Ukraine in a technically safe and environmentally sound manner.
The project also supports PCUk’s 2020 Unified Budget outcome “National capacity to address threats posed by explosive, chemical and environmental hazards is increased” related to Unified Budget Programme Objective “To assist the Ukrainian authorities in improving their compliance with OSCE commitments in the economic, environmental and political-military arenas”.
Project is designed to curb threats to environmental security and human safety posed by 460 tonnes of hazardous chemicals stored in the vicinity of a populated area of Bila Tserkva (Kyiv region) and water reservoirs, thereby improving the environmental security in the country and, in particular, the concerned areas
The project also supports the PCUk’s 2020 Outcome “National capacity to address threats posed by explosive, chemical and environmental hazards is increased” related to Unified Budget Programme Objective “To assist the Ukrainian authorities in improving their compliance with OSCE commitments in the economic, environmental and political-military arenas”.
Two main activities are proposed to reach the objective:
Considering the fact that the chemical hazardous waste designated for disposal through this project represents a unique chemical mixture and therefore embraces a complex disposal process, the project developed a Risk management plan designed to address a range of identified risks.
After the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union the former Soviet Republics were left with a large surplus of the toxic liquid rocket fuel component – oxidizer Mélange.
Rocket fuel components constitute a highly toxic and hazardous waste that needs to be removed and disposed. The reason for that is the danger to the surrounding populated areas and contamination risks to the environment. The rocket fuel is being kept in storage containers that are constantly deteriorating due to the corrosive features of the rocket fuel components. Therefore, an environmental and humanitarian disaster can occur in case of massive leakage.
Although Ukraine had previously undertaken several attempts to eliminate chemical hazardous waste on its own territory, these efforts did not prove successful. Their disposal is complicated due to lack of proved waste treatment facilities in Ukraine.
Since 2002 the OSCE has being implementing projects with the aim to remove and dispose the most hazardous and toxic chemicals, such as rocket fuel components that is being stored in the vicinity of densely populated areas, agricultural lands and water reservoirs and thus presenting high human security and environmental risks to millions of people. The projects have been successfully implemented in Albania, Armenia, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Montenegro and Ukraine. The latter one was the OSCE’s biggest project, dealing with disposal of 16 000 tonnes of rocket fuel component Melange. Therefore the OSCE has an extensive long year experience in these kind of projects and well established working relationship with the Ukraine.
Therefore, in 2017 the government of Ukraine requested OSCE assistance in eliminating its Armed Forces’ stocks of chemical hazardous waste originating from the liquid rocket fuel component Melange. In May 2018 the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine submitted a letter asking for assistance to help in disposing of highly toxic chemical hazardous waste. In response, the OSCE technical visit to the storage site and the consultations took place in September 2018.
The chemical analysis conducted by the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine in March 2019 shows that the stored 460 tonnes of stockpiles are mixtures of nitric, sulphuric and phosphoric acids. This kind of acid mixture cannot be classified as a typical rocket fuel component Melange, but as a unique highly toxic chemical hazardous waste that should be subject to removal and disposal by destruction at a special industrial factory.
The project’s relevance basis on policy, environmental and human security considerations. The objective of the project activities aimed to remove and dispose surplus stockpiles of the rocket fuel components that has turned into a chemical hazardous waste is fully in line with the priorities laid down in following OSCE documents: the OSCE Document on Stockpiles of Conventional Ammunition (FSC.DOC/1/03, 19 November 2003), the OSCE Strategy Document for the Economic and Environmental Dimension (MC (11).JOUR/2, 2 December 2003), the OSCE Ministerial Declaration on OSCE Assistance Projects in the Field of Small Arms and Light Weapons and Stockpiles of Conventional Ammunition CA (MC (23). JOUR./2, 9 December 2016), the OSCE Ministerial Council Decision No.10/17 Small Arms and Light Weapons and Stockpiles of Conventional Ammunition (MC (24) JOUR/2, 8 December 2017) and the OSCE Ministerial Council Declaration on OSCE Efforts in the Field of Norms and Best Practices on Small Arms and Light Weapons and Stockpiles of Conventional Ammunition (MC (25) JOUR/2, 7 December 2018). The project aims to contribute to the comprehensive security, by mainstreaming the gender perspective complying with the DEC/14/04 2004 OSCE Action Plan for the Promotion of Gender Equality.
In late 2014, the G7 Global Partnership against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction highlighted the need for measures promoting chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear security in Ukraine, mindful of obligations under UN Security Council Resolution 1540 (2004). In response, OSCE conducted the Comprehensive Review of Chemical Safety and Security in Ukraine (Comprehensive Review), resulted with report and recommendations for priority actions. The report issued in early 2016 emphasised challenges to chemical security posed by hazardous wastes and unusable chemical substances stored in warehouses controlled by various state organizations. In particular, highly toxic components of rocket fuel stored at warehouses belonging to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) defined as a threat to human health and environment.
Regarding the impact on the environment, the chemical hazardous waste is highly toxic and hazardous. Considering the fact that they are stored in containers that have been deteriorating over time, in case of a leakage, there is a risk of a highly negative impact on the environment. The long-term environmental damage is primarily associated with pollution of the groundwater.
The fact that in close proximity to the rocket fuel storage are residential areas, railroads and motorways is another potential risk with high impact on human security. During serious incidents occurring simultaneously with windy weather would result in toxic fumes drifting across residential areas. It is estimated that a major accident with a spill of 100 cubic meters of rocket fuel component Melange (one standard container) would be able to kill unprotected humans within 2 kilometres from a storage site and turn an area within 25 kilometres into a dangerous zone. In Ukraine the storage site A2791 is located in - Bila Tserkva (211 thousand inhabitants) with a residential place less than 200 meters away and in 80 km distance from Kyiv.
Consequently the project activities contribut to the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3 to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages that inter alia aims to reduce the number of deaths and illnesses from hazardous chemicals and air, water and soil pollution and contamination. Additionally, the project addresses the SDG 12 that deals with the responsible consumption and production, including environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes throughout their life cycle, in accordance with agreed international frameworks, and significantly reduce their release to air, water and soil in order to minimize their adverse impacts on human health and the environment.