Blue Grass Chemical Activity (BGCA) personnel began training with dummy munitions in May to get ready for Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant Explosive Destruction Technology (EDT) operations.
“A number of our personnel are familiar with munitions movement from previous destruction sites, but most of them are not,” said David Velazquez, director of chemical operations, BGCA. “This training will ensure everyone has the most up-to-date knowledge of safety and proper handling procedures. This will apply both for EDT operations and for the main plant following EDT.”
The workers will be responsible for removing palletized munitions from their storage location inside a steel-reinforced concrete, earth-covered structure known as an igloo. On a concrete pad outside the igloo, they will place the munitions on a metal tray, strap them down and then load them into a secure transport vessel, called an Enhanced On-site Container (EONC), for transport to the EDT processing site.
The training will proceed at a crawl-walk-run pace, said Velazquez, in a continuous process through December. The program began with a lecture and will progress through basic familiarization with equipment and standard operating procedures, handling and loading of munitions on trays and finally loading of the munitions into the EONC. Safety will be a common theme throughout the training and actual operations.
Blue Grass plant personnel refurbished an EONC and used a vendor to rebuild an accompanying trailer, repurposed from one of the mission-complete destruction facilities, and delivered them to BGCA for this training, said Bill Nieminen, systemization manager, Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass.
“The EONC and trailer refurbishment taught us much about what we will need to do to prepare additional transport equipment before EDT operations begin,” said Nieminen. “The whole process took about a month as we reviewed all parts and installed replacements as necessary to ensure a reliable and safe condition.”
Training with the EONC should start soon, Velazquez said.
BGCA is responsible for the safe and secure monitored storage of the chemical munitions stockpile on the Blue Grass Army Depot.