NATO has launched a new project to safely neutralise 1,100t of mélange, a highly toxic substance that was used during the Soviet era as rocket fuel oxidiser in Uzbekistan.

A Nato mobile plant will be used for the clean-up process for the extremely toxic chemical, which is expected to be completed in a year.

A similar mobile plant has already successfully converted over 1,300t of mélange into a non-hazardous, low-grade fertiliser in Azerbaijan.

The plant uses an environmentally safe chemical process and is capable of converting more than 5t of melange into a non-hazardous, low-grade fertiliser material per day.

The government of Uzbekistan will supply the necessary chemicals, infrastructure and logistic support for the project.

The project is part of the Nato Science for Peace and Security Programme and will be operated by the Nato Maintenance and Supply Agency in collaboration with specially trained local experts.