The Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant moved into full scale operations during the second half of the year and made progress destroying the chemical weapons stockpile.
“The biggest highlight of 2018 was the plant restart June 13,” said Greg Mohrman, site project manager, PCAPP. “We have been able to sustain operations and reduce the number of zero days [when no munitions are processed].”
Mohrman described the restart of the plant as significant and gratifying after the plant experienced unplanned downtime during the first half of the year. Plant staff have made improvements to plant equipment and operating procedures, which enabled the plant to restart and experience greater efficiency. Mohrman said the total number of projectiles destroyed between June 13 and Dec. 7, exceeds the number of munitions destroyed in its first 11 months of operation.
In February, ordnance technicians completed the reconfiguration of more than 28,000 105mm projectiles. In April, they began reconfiguring 4.2-inch mortar rounds, completing more than 18,000 by year’s end. Baseline reconfiguration is the process of removing munitions from wooden boxes and fiberboard tubes in preparation for destruction.
Integrated Facility Demonstrations, during which plant staff show regulators the plant is operating as designed, began Nov. 13. On that day, the plant experienced its best day to date, with 780 munitions processed, Mohrman said.
The plant’s Explosive Destruction System completed its second campaign Dec. 5, destroying 391 munitions unsuitable for processing in the main plant.
Throughout the year, Program Executive Office, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives, which oversees the plants near Pueblo, Colorado, and Richmond, Kentucky, studied options to potentially accelerate stockpile destruction and meet the requirements to complete the mission by Dec. 31, 2023. The use of three Static Detonation Chambers is being planned for Pueblo, after an environmental assessment produced a finding of no significant impact.