More than 232 metric tons of sarin destroyed

More than 232 metric tons of the nerve agent sarin have been destroyed by a Russian chemical weapons disposal site.

The Maradykovsky facility, located in Russia's Kirov region, destroyed 4,866 munitions filled with the chemical warfare material.

Production and stockpiling of sarin, whose sole application is as a nerve agent, was outlawed by the Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993.

Sarin can be either inhaled as a gas or absorbed through the skin and causes the overstimulation of muscles and vital organs. In high doses, sarin victims are suffocated by the paralysis caused by the muscles around their lungs.

One hundred milligrams of sarin, or roughly one drop, can kill the average person in a few minutes if an antidote is not administered.

The facility has also made progress in preparing to begin the disarmament of a cache of munitions that are filled with a mixture of mustard and lewisite blister agent. Currently, 150 metric tons of that material aways disposal at the site.

Construction has been completed on a line for the destruction of the mustard-lewisite mixture, the Kirov Region government said in a statement, with hook-up and commissioning work to start at the line in late November to test the technology for destroying the toxic chemicals.

Maradykovsky is expected to be fully finished with chemical weapons destruction by 2012.