Next Phase Of Nerve Agent Destruction At Depot To Start In July
Members of two community advisory panels have been briefed on next steps in the disposal of chemical munitions stored at the Blue Grass Army Depot. That includes a startup of rocket destruction and the trucking out of agent neutralization wastewater.
While officials at the Madison County demilitarization plant celebrated the completion of VX nerve agent projectile destruction last week, much of Wednesday’s update focused on the remaining task. Change over work is being done now to prepare for the startup of VX rocket disposal next month. Demil Contractor Project Manager Ron Hink said workforce training is in full swing. “I think you all recognize rockets are really carry a little bit more risk than the other configurations and we recognize that. We want to make sure our workforce does as well,” said Hink.
Also discussed were plans to move some 243 truckloads of hydrolysate from Richmond to an incinerator in Port Arthur Texas. Hydrolysate, presented as comparable to a commercial drain cleaner, is the wastewater product generated by the neutralization process. Physical Scientist Jeff Kiley said risks of mishaps along the route from Kentucky to Texas have been studied. “The event consequence was found to be negligible from the agent standpoint and the transportation risk was found to be low because of the amount of mileage we’re traveling and the fact of the accident rates that we have for the carrier that’s actually being used to do that were factored into it,” explained Kiley.
The timing of shipments has not been determined yet.
Chemical Agent Pilot Plant Project Manager Candace Coyle reported about 28% of the overall chemical weapons stockpile has now been destroyed. Workers completed disposal of VX nerve projectiles the end of May. A changeover is underway to prepare for destruction of VX rockets in July. The entire 523 tons of munitions including mustard agent are to be destroyed by the end of 2023.
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