On April 25, the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant officially reached 25% destruction of the original 523 tons of chemical agent stored at the Blue Grass Army Depot.
“It’s been a busy and exciting time for us, as we are currently involved with two of the plant’s five destruction campaigns, as well as systemization of the new rocket-processing line and construction of the Static Detonation Chamber 2000,” said Dr. Candace Coyle, site project manager, BGCAPP. “I would like to recognize and applaud the Blue Grass team for safely reaching this milestone, especially during a pandemic situation.”
The current destruction campaigns, mustard-agent 155mm projectiles in the Explosive Destruction Technology facility and VX 155mm projectiles in the main plant, and the previous completion of the GB 8-inch projectiles in the main plant, all contributed to the 25%-completion milestone, Coyle said. The workers have been following firm COVID-19 protocols since March 2020, which makes the accomplishment even more noteworthy.
“I am very proud of how our team handled themselves through not only the destruction of 25% of the chemical weapons in a safe and effective manner, but also in remaining safe during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Ron Hink, project manager, Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass. “Our focus has always been the safety of the workers first, and with that in mind, everyone buckled down and did what needed to be done to protect themselves and those around them.”
Destruction operations began in June 2019. Once the VX 155mm projectile campaign is complete, the plant will undergo a changeover process to begin destroying VX M55 rockets. The last campaign will be the destruction of GB M55 rockets. All chemical weapons are to be destroyed by the end of 2023, under a congressionally mandated deadline.