The Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant completed baseline reconfiguration of 4.2-inch mortar rounds containing mustard agent June 23.
“This milestone signifies we have prepared all the 4.2-inch mortars for destruction in our Static Detonation Chamber units starting later this year,” said Walton Levi, site project manager, PCAPP.
Baseline reconfiguration is the name for a process performed by ordnance technicians who take boxed rounds from a ready-to-use configuration to a ready-to-process configuration. The mortar and its components are unboxed and removed from a fiberboard tube, and the energetic components are removed, along with the pressure plate and nut, cartridge container and rotating disc. The round is then placed on a pallet and overpacked, or covered, and considered baseline reconfigured – ready for demilitarization operations.
The baseline reconfiguration team reached the halfway point with 4.2-inch mortars on Aug. 29, 2019 – 16 months after starting the process. In March of this year, the team finished reconfiguring mortars containing HD mustard agent and started on the remaining HT mustard rounds.
The main plant uses an automated process to disassemble 155mm projectiles, soon to give way to 105mm projectiles, and drain and treat the chemical agent inside. Because the 4.2-inch rounds have been found to be unsuited to that process, the reconfigured mortars will be packed away to be destroyed later in three SDC units that will augment the main plant.