Officials from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, or OPCW, toured the Blue Grass Static Detonation Chamber facility April 1 as part of a final oversight technical review prior to operations.
“The Final Engineering Review is designed to give OPCW a final, more detailed look at our equipment, processes and procedures before we start operations,” said Carolyn Murray, treaty compliance representative, Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass (BPBG). “It includes assessing and inspecting their access to destruction information through such items as cameras, laboratory sampling equipment and access to control room screens.”
As standard practice, OPCW sent a review team on an initial visit when management notified them the facility was nearing the end of construction and the beginning stages of readiness before start-up, Murray said. This visit was conducted in October 2018. The more in-depth Final Engineering Review was scheduled for no less than 60 days before the beginning of destruction operations. A team of international treaty inspectors will also be on site during operations to assess and verify the destruction of the chemical agents.
“We are here to comply with the Chemical Weapons Convention,” said Terry Staggs, plant support specialist, BPBG. “The OPCW allows us to demonstrate to the world that we safely and compliantly are destroying our chemical weapons.”
A team of on-site treaty inspectors will arrive at the site later in May to provide oversight to all destruction operations.