Initial testing is underway on the Static Detonation Chamber units at the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant.
“This is the first step in a long process to show the SDCs are fully functioning,” said David Duff, Chief Engineer, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives. “A lot of work brought us to this point, and I’m happy to say we are very satisfied with how the dry run testing went in preparation for the site acceptance test.”
Employees from Dynasafe, the manufacturer of the three destruction units at PCAPP, performed the SAT, assessing whether Unit No. 2 performed as designed. This is a major milestone and signifies the end of construction activities and turnover of Site 2 to PCAPP Operations. In January, Site 3 will be starting its final SAT actions followed by Site 1 in February.
Tests were conducted using ACWA Test Equipment, inert munitions used for training and testing purposes. One of the tests included a “cold demonstration,” in which no heat and no agent were present while the unit’s functions were evaluated.
Test munitions were placed inside a cardboard box on a loading conveyor, which transported the test munitions up the unit elevator to a loading chamber. Before the box made its way to the detonation chamber, emergency controls were tested and the box was retrieved to ensure controls were properly functioning.
Future tests include events where the detonation chamber and off-gas treatment system will be evaluated on its ability to recover from a global loss of power. This test will be followed by surrogate chemical testing and then conventional weapons testing.
The Static Detonation Chamber units will be ready for agent operations after the tests conclude and the units are approved by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. They will augment the main plant by destroying problematic munitions that are unsuitable for processing using the main plant’s automated equipment. This includes the destruction of 4.2-inch mortars and the overpacked rounds.