The first nerve agent was processed through the Blue Grass plant’s Agent Neutralization System March 13.
“We started with one batch on the 13th, processed two more on the 14th and one on the 15th,” said Scott Sharp, Control Room supervisor, Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass. “The system worked great.”
During the neutralization process, agent is mixed vigorously with hot water and caustic to neutralize, or destroy, it. The mixture is heated to 160 degrees Fahrenheit and processed for six to seven hours. The end product is called hydrolysate.
“It’s very satisfying to see all the hard work by many people in the systemization and startup teams paying off,” Sharp said. “The system ran as designed with very few issues.”
Once processing is complete, samples are taken and sent to the Laboratory. Laboratory personnel analyze the samples and provide a “pass” or “fail” on agent neutralization. If the sample fails, then the batch is reprocessed until it is determined the agent is destroyed. All four batches passed and were sent to the Hydrolysate Storage Area to await processing through the secondary supercritical water oxidation system. This system is scheduled to begin processing later this year.
Progress continues at the site and includes workforce social distancing in accordance with the most up-to-date guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to ensure their health and to prevent the potential spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.