The Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (PCAPP) is safely and efficiently destroying chemical weapons stored at the U.S. Army Pueblo Chemical Depot. Technology known as neutralization followed by biotreatment is used to destroy the mustard agent contained in the projectiles.
First-of-a-kind equipment assists with this process, including the Munitions Washout System (MWS). The entire process is safely monitored and controlled by operators in a remote station. The diagram below illustrates the process.
- Step 1: the MWS robotic arm places the 105mm and 155mm projectiles upside-down in a device known as a Cavity Access Machine (CAM).
- Step 2: the CAM operates by hydraulically pushing the burster well (a tube in the middle of the projectile) into the munition.
- Step 3: the collapsed burster will create an opening for the agent to drain from the munition.
- Step 4: in this final step, hot, high-pressure water is sprayed into each munition to assist in cleaning out any agent residue. The chemical agent and rinse water from the MWS is piped to another area for subsequent neutralization processing.
To accommodate two of the three types of projectiles in the stockpile, the MWS consists of two operating lines, each designed to process up to 50 105mm projectiles or up to 32 155mm projectiles per hour. All drained material will be collected and pumped directly into the neutralization bay.
To learn more, view the PCAPP Munitions Washout System video.
It is recognized that a number of munitions will not be able to be easily processed through the main destruction plant. These problematic munitions include those that have leaked in the past and are overpacked, as well as “rejects” whose condition does not allow for automated processing. These munitions will be safely processed in PCAPP’s Static Detonation Chambers.