Technicians began testing the Blue Grass plant’s Rocket Cutting Machines and their related systems with dummy rockets in November.
“This is the first Blue Grass-specific equipment rockets will see in the destruction process,” said Dave Lee, start-up supervisor, Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass. “We have completed testing equipment systems and are now running them as a process.” Technicians are testing the full function of the equipment by cutting and separating the shipping and firing tubes from the inert rocket warheads and then separating the warheads from motor sections.
The dummy warheads travel down a conveyor to the Explosive Containment Room. The separated rocket motors, still in shipping and firing tubes, are conveyed to the Motor Packing Room, where a robot loads them into a specially designed box for shipping to a permitted disposal facility.
“Our next step will be to continue the process with the Rocket Shear Machines, which will punch and drain the rockets and shear them into four pieces for the neutralization process,” Lee said. “We are also fine-tuning the movements of the robots loading the rocket motors into the shipping boxes and tweaking the box design.”
During operations, the Rocket Cutting Machine will process up to 20 rockets per hour.