After discussions between the Program Executive Office, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives and Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass, the program decided to move the start of operations for the Blue Grass main plant from late 2019 to early 2020.
“There were several considerations that went into making this decision, but the main factor, as always, was safety,” said Dr. Candace Coyle, site project manager, Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant. “Rescheduling the start of nerve agent operations allows us additional time to make modifications to the rocket processing line before chemical agent is introduced into the main plant. It also allows workers to place some of the new equipment without having to wear additional personal protective equipment.”
This schedule shift does not affect ongoing operations at the Static Detonation Chamber 1200, with mustard munitions destruction continuing as planned, Coyle said. Workers are also preparing to begin site preparation activities for placing the Static Detonation Chamber 2000.
“We believe this change will allow a smooth startup of the main plant as we work toward our goal of destroying the chemical weapons stockpile in Kentucky by December 2023,” Coyle said.
The Blue Grass main plant and Static Detonation Chambers are responsible for destroying 523 tons of chemical agent contained in rockets, artillery projectiles and three Department of Transportation bottles currently in storage at the Blue Grass Army Depot near Richmond, Kentucky.