Program managers discussed the possibility of an additional Static Detonation Chamber, or SDC, for use at the Blue Grass plant during a public meeting March 13.
“We’re evaluating the application of a second SDC, a larger unit. It is undergoing an engineering evaluation to determine if it can successfully process full rocket overpacks,” said Jeff Brubaker, site project manager, Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant. “It will be a tremendous advantage to the project, as the rockets would not have to be unpacked before processing.”
Currently, rockets found to be leaking and therefore placed in steel overpack containers will have to be unpacked and placed into the destruction process by plant workers, Brubaker said. A larger destruction chamber will be able to process the complete overpacked rocket without that involvement.
“The most dangerous thing our workers do is disassemble these weapons. The most important thing is the safety of our workers,” said Nick Stamatakis, deputy program executive officer, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives. “We work to make sure the safety of the workers, public and environment are all of utmost importance. Plus, the more you must send workers into toxic areas, the more the schedule slows down.”
Such a change to the destruction process will require permit changes, Stamatakis said, so a decision on a second chamber will be based on progress through the National Environmental Policy Act process and environmental permitting modifications. Information on this topic will be provided at upcoming public meetings in Richmond, Kentucky.