As part of the systemization phase, technicians are testing and calibrating instruments to prepare the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (BGCAPP) for destruction operations.
“Instrumentation is essential to BGCAPP,” said Fred Barnes, mechanical engineer, BGCAPP. “It will ensure we have control over plant processes, give us assurance that our safeguards will work, and give us notification if a process starts to head toward an upset condition. To perform these functions, the instrumentation must be checked, tested and adjusted on a routine basis.”
One piece of equipment technicians are currently focusing on is the Off-Gas Treatment Module (OTM) in the Munitions Demilitarization Building. This module processes the gases created in the destruction of the chemical munitions, Barnes said. OTM instrumentation monitors the air and feeds information to the Control Room, where alerts will notify plant staff if changes need to be made. Therefore, it, and all plant instrumentation, must be accurate and reliable.
“Plant instruments were factory tested after their manufacture, but it’s not the same as being tested here, where they are in place and attached to equipment,” said Bill Gregory, instrumentation technician, Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass. “We have to make sure they integrate with our equipment and report and control our processes appropriately and accurately.”
If discrepancies are observed, they are recorded and the instrumentation is adjusted or replaced, as the situation warrants, Gregory said. Multiple departments are involved in the testing process and if changes are necessary, interdepartmental experts consult on the path forward.
“It’s all about safety and the proper operation of the facility,” Gregory said. “We need to have complete confidence in our plant processes, and calibration of the instrumentation is a very large part of that.”