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Army Depot Ceremony Marks Pending Start Of Chemical Weapons Disposal

Stu Johnson

Officials with the U.S. Army and the contractor responsible for destroying chemical weapons stored at the Blue Grass Army Depot are sounding the “go ahead” for disposing of more than 500 tons of munitions.   A ceremonial “startup” event took place Wednesday at the Madison County installation.

Federal, state, and local government officials plus citizens with a long -standing interest in chemical weapons disposal participated in the formal program.  First up is destruction of mustard agent in a static detonation chamber.  A surrogate material has been run through the machine.   Michael Abaie with Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives says an official first day for disposal is not set yet. “We’re looking for the last couple safety approvals from other agencies that oversee safety, surety, security.  Once we get those completed, we’re looking within the next two weeks of to start operations,” said Abaie.

The large crowd included those who just wanted more information about what is about to happen after more than three decades of debate and refinement on destroying the lethal munitions.  Berea native Stewart Davidson labeled himself a “concerned citizen.” “If there is one goof, you know, one major goof who knows what that’s going to do.  But, if they have all the safety things in place, then we should be okay,” noted Davidson.

Following the ceremony, Governor Bevin said every single state resource possible will be available to ensure disposal is done safely, effectively, efficiently, and under budget.  Completion of chemical weapon disposal including nerve agent is anticipated by the end of 2023.

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