The Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (PCAPP) can begin operations once the workforce and equipment demonstrate readiness in four general areas.
Provisional Operations, a period in which operations and maintenance staff gain proficiency and complete their individual certifications, began in March 2015 and is ongoing. Activities began in the Yard and Enhanced Reconfiguration Building (ERB) and then moved to the Agent Processing Building (APB). “Evolutions include conducting Demilitarization Protective Ensemble (DPE) entries at night to perform preventive maintenance activities, strainer cleanouts, and treaty sampling,” said Kim Jackson, deputy plant manager. Jackson said simulated munitions containing simulated agent were processed through the Munitions Washout Station and Munitions Treatment Unit, and water was processed in the Agent Neutralization Reactors to complete the training exercise.
“The most significant contingency practiced thus far was the agent alarm response,” Jackson noted. Drills were performed in the ERB and expanded to include the Chemical Limited Area, the access restricted area where agent-filled munitions are stored and will be processed. The agent alarm response training was on a large-scale and involved all PCAPP employees so they understand what to do if a real incident occurs.
Integrated Facility Testing
“Integrated Facility Testing is the final electrical system testing for the plant,” Jackson explained. “It required all systems to be operable in order to perform a full-blown global loss of power recovery on our diesel generators.” Integrated Facility Testing began in August 2015.
Optimization is defined as the act, process or methodology of making a system as fully functional or effective as possible. At PCAPP, it is the period when formal exercises are conducted and graded by plant staff to verify readiness. “Optimization is broken into three increasing levels of complexity and all four crews perform plant evolutions,” said Rick Holmes, project manager. During Level 1, every crew will demonstrate its ability to receive and process munitions through the ERB, and conduct contingency exercises; Level 2 involves processing of munitions in the APB, as well as DPE entries, sampling and maintenance; and Level 3 prepares staff for Integrated Operations Demonstrations by conducting evolutions across the entire plant. Three separate 35-day evolutions will be performed.
Integrated Operations Demonstrations
Integrated Operations Demonstrations are formal graded exercises by plant staff and stakeholders, including Program Executive Office, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, to verify readiness. These include normal operations in the ERB and APB. In addition, a variety of contingencies are performed to confirm personnel are fully capable of recovering the plant.
“Integrated ops demonstrations are the final graded drills that confirm the plant is ready for agent operations,” Jackson said.