Technicians processed test munitions through the Static Detonation Chamber for the first time in November.
“We loaded them on the conveyor and hit the start button,” said Chuck Stacy, shift plant manager, Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass. “The automated equipment then took over the whole process. The munitions were processed in the destruction chamber, dumped out onto the cool-down conveyor and transferred to a waste hopper, per operating procedure.”
Components of the system had previously been tested but this was the first time the entire process was tested, Stacy said. The first eight test munitions were empty. The following ones will be filled with ethylene glycol, which replicates mustard agent for destruction testing purposes but is not a chemical agent.
The complete process takes about 15 hours, Stacy said. This includes loading 36 munitions into the chamber, processing time, then cool-down and inspection.
“We know the system works and we know what the reactions are,” Stacy said. “The next step is a sustained run for our system demonstration.”
The Static Detonation Chamber is planned to begin operations in the summer of 2019.