Bulgaria’s Cabinet decided on April 8 to ban the import and transportation of munitions from other EU member states for the purpose of decommissioning, the government media service said in a statement.
Bulgarian firms have carried out decommissioning of old munitions in line with international treaties for arms control, under the supervision of Bulgarian authorities. “Despite the existing legal framework and despite the state supervision, the number of accidents in the process of decommissioning has increased. As a result of such incidents, 19 people have died and 18 were injured in recent years,” the government’s statement said.
“The introduction of the ban is the only possible measure at this point that can be adopted to protect the life and health of citizens,” the statement said.
Bulgaria has a recent history of deadly explosions at munitions depots and production facilities. The most recent incident was last month near the village of Iganovo in central Bulgaria, resulting in no injuries.
In December 2014, one person died and three were injured in an explosion near the town of Kazanluk in central Bulgaria. That incident happened as Bulgaria was still reeling from the accident at a munitions processing plant in the village of Gorni Lom in October, which resulted in the deaths of 15 people and was the third major explosion at that facility since 2007.
In August 2014, 10 people were injured in an explosion at the Terem munitions plant in the town of Kostenets, 60km south-east from Bulgarian capital city Sofia.
In February 2013, one person died from burns caused by an explosion at the Arsenal plant in Muglizh, while a series of blasts at the Arsenal plant in Kazanluk in September 2012 resulted in no casualties. The Arsenal plant in Kazanluk also had a major fire erupt in August 2008, but no casualties were reported that time either.
In June 2012, seven people were injured in explosions at a munitions depot near the village of Lozenets, in Yambol region. In July 2008, blasts rocked Sofia after a fire at a munitions depot in the village of Chelopechene, just outside the city.
(Photo: Artem Zhushman/sxc.hu)