Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant technicians and engineers are preparing to reconfigure specialized equipment to destroy 105mm projectiles later this year.
“We assembled a team of seasoned maintenance technicians, waste technicians, safety specialists, engineers, and work control specialists to determine a safe method to fully disassemble the 155mm Cavity Access Machines, or CAMs, after they complete the 155mm HD projectile campaign,” said Tom Bailey, plant support specialist, PCAPP.
Ten CAMs make up the Munitions Washout System (MWS) at the plant. All will be decommissioned and broken down into component parts before the new 105mm CAMs are installed for the next campaign, Bailey said.
“The method of disassembly is critical from a worker safety perspective, as several of the parts that comprise a CAM weigh in excess of 450 pounds,” he said. “These CAMs will be disassembled by PCAPP workers in Demilitarization Protective Ensemble suits, and the components will be lifted by a crane in the MWS room.
“During this recent exercise, we discussed how to effectively decontaminate the CAMs, the order in which the components need to be removed, what components had to be preserved for future use, the level to which individual components must be size-reduced, and how many waste containers it may take to contain them,” Bailey said.
The plant’s maintenance workers are already familiar with working on the CAMs, but this exercise entailed the total disassembly of a CAM station to determine the safe order in which all the components should be disassembled, Bailey said. “For that level of knowledge, we relied on some our top maintenance performers to spend a few days at the PCAPP Training Facility to take apart and reassemble our 155mm First-Of-A-Kind CAM in a non-toxic environment.”
Over a period of three days, the team disassembled and reassembled the CAM several times to determine a logical disassembly sequence. “We weighed each component as it was removed, and worked with the Waste Management Team to estimate how many drums it may require to contain the parts removed,” he said. “We also tracked each evolution to determine how many entries the process may take.”
In the fall, the plant is expected to finish eliminating the mustard agent contained in 155mm projectiles, the main plant’s first destruction campaign. This is when this newly defined 155mm CAM removal process will allow the installation of the 105mm processing equipment.