A team of Blue Grass plant personnel performed the first sampling of GB nerve agent March 24 to meet treaty requirements.
“The sampling provides proof to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, or OPCW, that the GB agent declared to be in a projectile was actually in that projectile,” said Mike Kester, area supervisor, Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass (BPBG). “Their inspectors viewed the whole process through closed-circuit television.”
The OPCW enforces the Chemical Weapons Convention, the multilateral arms control treaty which prohibits the production, stockpiling and use of chemical weapons. Its inspectors observe and verify chemical agent destruction at the Blue Grass plant and its sister site in Colorado. As part of that verification, they have the ability to tag specific munitions and follow them through the destruction process. The 8-inch projectile sampled March 24 was tagged by treaty inspectors years ago, and now tracked to its destruction.
“The inspectors said they thought it [the sampling operation] went very well,” said Carolyn Murray, treaty compliance representative, BPBG. “They were very complimentary of our process and said they were very pleased with what they saw.”
The agent sample was safely delivered to the Laboratory, where chemists verified it as GB agent. The drained projectile was thermally decontaminated through the Metal Parts Treater and the drained agent was processed through the Agent Neutralization System.
Progress continues at the site and includes workforce measures 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.