The Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (PCAPP) continues to make progress toward the start of operations. That was the message conveyed by PCAPP management at the Sept. 30 Colorado Chemical Demilitarization Citizens’ Advisory Commission (CAC) meeting held in Boone, Colorado.
The plant has reached 89 percent completion of systemization activities, said Rick Holmes, project manager, Bechtel Pueblo Team. Systemization is the process by which procedures, processes, equipment and staff are tested to ensure the plant is ready to begin chemical weapons destruction operations.
“We’ve made great progress with system turnovers,” said Holmes. “As each system or facility is tested and declared ready for use or occupancy, they are turned over to the operations team who, in some cases, practice with simulated munitions to make sure both the equipment and the workers are ready to safely handle actual mustard agent-filled munitions.”
The Agent Processing Building and Enhanced Reconfiguration Buildings are each 100 percent systemized, so focus is on the Biotreatment Area (BTA), which is 73 percent systemized.
Three tanks of thiodiglycol (TDG) arrived at the plant by Oct. 7. The primary byproduct created during the neutralization process, TDG will be used to test the efficacy of processes in the BTA, said Holmes. Microbes, living inside containers called Immobilized Cell Bioreactors, are expected to turn the TDG into carbon dioxide and a salt brine solution once they are acclimated to the chemical mixture.
Electrical distribution testing is complete and all four crews have practiced the facility response to a loss of site electrical power. This practice ensures the facility remains in a safe condition, Holmes said.