Efforts are underway for the Blue Grass Explosive Destruction Technology to begin operations ahead of the main plant, said plant managers at a March 14 public meeting.
“We are planning for dual-facility operations,” said Jeff Brubaker, site project manager, Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant. “Essentially what that means is the Static Detonation Chamber [processing of] the mustard munitions will overlap in time with the main-plant destruction of the nerve-agent weapons.”
Approved by Suzanne Milchling, program executive officer, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives, the stretch goal for the beginning of mustard-munitions processing is in the June to August 2019 timeframe. The plant is working closely with the Blue Grass Army Depot, Blue Grass Chemical Activity and other partner organizations to support dual-facility operations.
“At this point, we haven’t identified anything that would keep [dual-facility operations] from occurring,” Brubaker said. “I think this is a positive development.”
Explosive Destruction Technology (EDT) pre-systemization activities will conclude around the end of April and systemization and start-up activities will begin in the May timeframe, Brubaker said. This means the EDT will be advanced over a year ahead of the re-plan schedule issued in 2017. Main-plant operations are scheduled to begin in 2020 but there is a possibility that schedule could be accelerated, as well.
Hiring for the EDT project and the main plant is ramping up, with each joint-venture company aiming to hire approximately 30 people per month until the goal of approximately 450 new-hires is achieved, said Ron Hink, project manager, Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass. Hiring information can be found on the Blue Grass plant’s employment page.