The Program Executive Officer for the Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives program provided an update on continued progress at the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant during a Colorado Chemical Demilitarization Citizens’ Advisory Commission meeting Jan. 30.
“We have invested significantly in the main plant and we continue to invest in the main plant to make sure the plant is running efficiently, effectively and safely destroying agent,” said Michael Abaie, program executive officer, ACWA.
Over the past few months the processing rates have increased significantly based on program and systems contractor efforts, as well as personnel focusing on getting the plant to where it needs to be, Abaie said.
The Munitions Washout System and Munitions Treatment Unit are two areas that have seen increased performance. The washout system, which uses Cavity Access Machines to collapse the burster well and drain the mustard agent from projectiles, and the treatment unit, which uses heat to decontaminate projectiles of residual agent, have dramatically increased production since improvements were made to the equipment.
“The main plant is doing very well,” Abaie said.
Abaie updated the commission on the permitting process for Static Detonation Chambers, proposed to augment the main plant in destroying the chemical munitions stockpile stored at the U.S. Army Pueblo Chemical Depot. A limited number of munitions cannot be processed through the plant, including 4.2-inch mortar rounds, overpacked leakers and munitions rejected at the main facility. The proposed units safely destroy chemical munitions, energetics, and associated waste items using indirect heat.