The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine released a report in May regarding the Blue Grass plant’s process to treat hydrolysate.
“We asked them to identify metrics for the key technical factors for the six-month assessment period when the supercritical water oxidation technology goes into operations,” said Dr. Candace Coyle, site project manager, Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant. “The report looked at the previous study from 2015, where they identified performance goals for the technical performance of the system.”
The National Academies study makes recommendations for metrics focused on technical parameters, Coyle said. One of these recommendations is a more thorough analysis of the system as a whole for not only operations, but for conducting maintenance in the presence of operating supercritical water oxidation (SCWO) reactors and the long-term effects of corrosion on the entire system. The Blue Grass team is also looking at non-technical factors for a holistic picture of the SCWO system.
“The ability to operate safely is key to successful SCWO operations,” Coyle said. “The Program Executive Office, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives is already working on an overarching safety assessment of the SCWO system, due out in fall 2019. It focuses on systems engineering between both equipment and workforce groups, where transitions might create safety issues for equipment or personnel.”
The community is provided regular updates at quarterly public meetings, Coyle said. The Blue Grass plant team will continue to maintain close communications with local, state and federal agencies and community members, to keep them informed of project progress.
The SCWO system will process the hydrolysate generated from the chemical weapons neutralization. The high-temperature and high-pressure process will break hydrolysate down into water, carbon dioxide and salts.