RICHMOND, Ky. – The Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (BGCAPP) is undergoing final preparations before destruction of chemical weapons stored at the Blue Grass Army Depot begins.
“This is what we’ve been working toward for years,” said Jeff Brubaker, BGCAPP site project manager. “We are ready to take the next step in destroying these obsolete weapons, fulfilling international obligations and making the world a safer place.”
The destruction of mustard agent munitions is slated to begin in June while the destruction of nerve agent weapons will begin in the fall.
“It has taken thousands of skilled and experienced workers to successfully bring the project to this point,” said Ron Hink, Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass (BPBG) project manager. “Throughout each phase of the project we have been able to instill and maintain a safety mentality that we intend to carry through operations.”
BPBG employees have completed 11,707,517 hours and 1,765 days without a lost time accident and a recordable injury rate 77 percent lower than the industry average.
Mustard agent munitions will be destroyed in the Explosive Destruction Technology facility using a Static Detonation Chamber, while nerve agent munitions will be destroyed in the main plant using neutralization followed by supercritical water oxidation.
Since construction of the main plant was complete in 2015, the project has been in the systemization phase, where equipment and processes are put through a series of tests to ensure their functionality leading into operations.
“Our workforce has worked long and hard to methodically test each plant component and then prove out those components working together as systems,” Hink said. “Through those efforts we are demonstrating the plant is ready for agent operations.”
Since groundbreaking in 2003, BGCAPP has worked with a number of partners and oversight organizations to begin chemical weapons destruction. These include the Blue Grass Army Depot, Blue Grass Chemical Activity, Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a number of Department of Defense organizations and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
BGCAPP will safely and efficiently destroy a stockpile of 523 tons of mustard and nerve agent in projectiles and rockets currently in storage at the Blue Grass Army Depot.
Chemical weapons destruction operations are scheduled to finish in 2023.
For more information on the project, please visit the Program Executive Office, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives website at www.peoacwa.army.mil.
For more project photos, visit www.flickr.com/photos/acwa/.