Workers At Blue Grass Army Depot Demil Plant Focusing On Nerve Munition Destruction
Close to a third of the chemical munitions stored at the Blue Grass Army Depot have now undergone demilitarization. Two community advisory panels got an update during a quarterly meeting last week.
This summer officials with the Bluegrass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant celebrated destruction of all the mustard agent projectiles. Now, all attention centers on nerve agent rockets. Ron Hink, overseeing disposal operations, told advisory group members about 10% of VX nerve rocket munitions have undergone neutralization. “We look at the next six months with VX rockets as kind of our opportunity to tune the line, so that we’re really set up to move the GB rockets through. Cause there’s a significant higher number of those to process obviously,” said Hink.
After undergoing neutralization, the empty severed rockets will be stored on site until they are disposed of in static detonation chambers.
Kentucky Chemical Demilitarization Citizens’ Advisory Commission Member Craig Williams asked about monitoring rocket motors while being unloaded. Jeff Brubaker is overseeing rocket line operations in the plant. “We’re actually implementing an automating robotic process that will be used to unload the rocket motors from the wooden boxes, place them into feed containers, that will then be conveyed to the SDC. So, we are essentially eliminating all manual intervention,” said Brubaker.
Come next July, just under half of the entire 523 tons of chemical weapons at the Madison County Army installation is expected to be destroyed. Hink said the facility has seen 687 days without lost time due to any issues. The entire stockpile is scheduled to be eliminated by the end of 2023.