Almaty (Kazakhstan), Dec. 28 (ANI): Kazakhstan has opened its third biological agent monitoring station in Almaty.
The new monitoring system has been built under the Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) program, which is better known as the Nunn-Lugar Program.
The new facility is the 18th built in the world. Apart from Kazakhstan's three, the others are located in Azerbaijan (one), Georgia (five), Ukraine (one) and Uzbekistan (eight) acilities of this kind are designed to establish a first line of defense against infectious diseases by detecting outbreaks earlier and serving as a liaison with medical experts.
Two U.S. senators, Richard Lugar, Republican of Indiana, and Sam Nunn, Democrat of Georgia, initiated the CTR program back in 1991.
Its goal is to secure and dismantle weapons of mass destruction and their associated infrastructure in former Soviet Union states. At first the disarmament program has worked only in former Soviet countries, but since 2003 it was authorized to operate all around the globe.
During the past 18 years, CTR has deactivated 7,504 strategic nuclear warheads, destroyed 752 intercontinental ballistic missiles, eliminated 31 nuclear submarines capable of launching ballistic missiles, eliminated 155 bombers, destroyed 194 nuclear test tunnels (at Semipalatinsk test site) and upgraded security at 24 nuclear weapons storage sites.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Kazakhstan possessed 1,410 nuclear warheads. These had been completely destroyed by 1995.
Joint Kazakhstan-U.S. efforts on non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction received media attention this week as President Barack Obama signed documents allocating more than one billion dollars in the next fiscal year for funding three high profile threat reduction programs, including the CTR program.
Beyond eliminating nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, the Nunn-Lugar program aims at reemploying scientists and redesigning facilities related to weapons of mass destruction to work in peaceful nuclear research.
As a nation that voluntary renounced a nuclear arsenal, Kazakhstan enjoys high authority and is recognized as a leader in nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. (ANI)