Decision Made on Disposal of Rocket Motors

The Rocket Motor Packing Room robot angles a test rocket motor shipping and firing tube for placement into a shipping box during testing at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant. During rocket processing operations, non-contaminated rocket motors will be shipped to Anniston, Alabama, for destruction in a Static Detonation Chamber unit.
The Rocket Motor Packing Room robot angles a test rocket motor shipping and firing tube for placement into a shipping box during testing at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant. During rocket processing operations, non-contaminated rocket motors will be shipped to Anniston, Alabama, for destruction in a Static Detonation Chamber unit.

Blue Grass managers provided information on the disposal of non-agent-contaminated rocket motors during a public meeting June 9.

“The rocket motors will start being processed in the Anniston, Alabama, Static Detonation Chamber unit with the potential to be processed in one of the Blue Grass units when the drained rocket warhead missions are complete,” said Ron Hink, project manager, Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass. “We are developing a transportation risk assessment for shipping the rocket motors to Anniston.”

Static Detonation Chamber, or SDC, units were chosen for rocket-motor destruction for several reasons, one of which is their design allows them to readily handle this kind of energetics, said Hink. Also, they are assets already within the Program Executive Office, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives program, with workers already trained and up to speed on their operation. The program has six SDCs: two at the Blue Grass plant, one at the Anniston facility and three at the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant in Colorado.

“The SDC unit is a good way to process these motors as their destruction will be within a controlled chamber,” said Todd Williams, environmental engineer, Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant. “The system provides proper pollution abatement, which means any emissions are cleaned to be at or below permitted standards.”

Automated plant equipment will separate the motors from the agent-filled warheads, which will be processed within the Blue Grass plant and in its SDC units. The motors will be packaged and transported to the Anniston facility during the M55 VX and GB rocket destruction campaigns. The VX rocket campaign is expected to begin in July.

Scroll to Top