Members of two community advisory groups toured the facility used to train Blue Grass plant workers on automated rocket destruction equipment Aug. 4.
“It’s excellent,” said David Stipes, member, Kentucky Chemical Demilitarization Citizens’ Advisory Commission, and executive director, Richmond Industrial Development Corporation. “It shows the scientific expertise and safety measures being implemented all through the process.”
Group members viewed a plant update presentation, then were provided a tour of the training floor where robots and robotic equipment processed dummy rocket warheads through the Rocket Warhead Containerization System. The system was developed after program officials made the decision to no longer use the Energetics Neutralization System to process drained rocket warheads due to worker safety concerns.
“I’m very impressed with the accomplishment of the team in their development of this rocket equipment,” said Craig Williams, co-chair, Chemical Destruction Community Advisory Board. “They’ve met the challenge and accomplished their goal.”
Group members watched as a training specialist demonstrated the different stations of the process, from the wrapping of a simulated punched and drained warhead to minimize the leakage of liquid agent to the placement of the containerized warhead into a storage skid. In the plant, containerized warheads will be temporarily returned to storage on the Blue Grass Army Depot to await processing in one of the Blue Grass Static Detonation Chamber units.
VX M55 rockets are being destroyed at the Blue Grass plant with completion expected in January. The next destruction campaign, GB M55 rockets, will begin after a six-month changeover period.