The former site project manager of the Anniston Chemical Agent Disposal Facility, Alabama, shared his experience with the Static Detonation Chamber during the January 31 Colorado Chemical Demilitarization Citizens’ Advisory Commission meeting.
“An operator puts an item on the processing line and doesn’t touch it again,” said Tim Garrett, the current site project manager of the Anniston Field Office. “It reduces safety risks because there is no manual interaction or additional equipment interaction.”
Garrett said the SDC is a heated, armored vessel which operates at 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit and is capable of processing conventional and chemical munitions. The inner chamber is made of heat resistant stainless steel and has excellent tensile properties.
Currently, the Anniston SDC is processing non-contaminated energetic components from the Pueblo stockpile. At the end of January, the unit had processed almost 25,000 propellants and more than 40,000 bursters.
While the technology is able to withstand a detonation, in most cases the munition experiences a deflagration. The explosive is heated up to its auto ignition temperature, burning the component so it no longer has the characteristics of an explosive, Garrett said.
The project manager said the SDC is a clean technology and emissions testing has confirmed compliance with environmental requirements.
In 2010, an SDC was installed at the Anniston facility in support of the mission to destroy the chemical weapons stockpile at Anniston Army Depot. Overpacks, chemical munitions that had leaked or were sampled in the past to determine the condition of the mustard agent, and items not conducive for processing by baseline equipment were treated by the unit.