Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant Monthly Recap – June 2022

Chemical Weapons Destruction at the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (PCAPP):

PCAPP is destroying the remaining U.S. chemical weapons stockpile stored at the U.S. Army Pueblo Chemical Depot (PCD) in Colorado. The original stockpile consisted of approximately 780,000 total chemical weapons containing mustard agent. The Colorado stockpile originally comprised three chemical munition types: 155mm and 105mm projectiles, and 4.2-inch mortar rounds.


Project Update:

  • Due to recent technology improvements, PCAPP presented plans to use a device that would allow problematic 155mm munitions to be safely destroyed through current automated plant processes. PCAPP technicians developed a Burster Rotating Adaptor Device (BRAD) prior to the start of the 105mm projectile destruction campaign in December 2020. The BRAD allows for additional twisting motion to loosen stuck bursters and has been credited with the low rate of 105mm munitions rejected by the plant’s automated systems due to stuck bursters. The plan calls for previously rejected 155mm munitions to be reprocessed by systems equipped with a BRAD, which was not an option during the main phase of 155mm destruction.
  • Public discussions have involved a plan to develop an Improved Cavity Access Machine, or ICAM, which would allow the main plant to process a portion of 4.2-inch mortar rounds. Currently, 4.2-inch mortar rounds are being destroyed at the PCAPP Static Detonation Chamber (SDC) units. Plant officials said the use of ICAM technology could greatly increase the rates of 4.2-inch mortar round destruction.

Main Plant Update:

  • The original stockpile stored at PCD contained more than 380,000 105mm chemical weapons. Destruction of the 105mm projectile munition type began in December 2020.
  • Since the start of 105mm destruction operations, more than 370,000 105mm projectiles have been destroyed, eliminating approximately 97.5% of the total inventory of this munition type.
  • In the month of June, nearly 17,000 105mm projectiles were destroyed, an average of approximately 550 per day.

SDC Update:

  • Three SDC units augment operations at PCAPP by destroying problematic munitions, including 4.2-inch mortar rounds. SDC technology uses thermal heating to safely detonate or deflagrate munitions, mustard agent and explosive components.
  • PCAPP submitted a report summarizing SDC trial testing to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. The report is awaiting regulatory review. Based on report findings, CDPHE will determine the rates at which 4.2-inch mortar rounds can be destroyed. Each SDC unit is permitted to destroy three rounds per hour under current conditions. The tests, which occurred in two phases, demonstrated each SDC unit operates as designed. The first phase consisted of non-agent tests while the latest phase evaluated each unit’s ability to destroy agent-filled munitions. Trial tests are a requirement of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act permit that governs agent-destruction operations.
  • The original stockpile stored at PCD contained more than 97,000 4.2-inch mortar rounds.
  • Since 4.2-inch mortar round destruction began Feb. 19 at the SDC units, more than 4,500 rounds have been destroyed. In the month of June, more than 1,400 rounds were destroyed.

Upcoming Meetings

Permit Modification Request Public Meetings
July 13, 2022, at 9:30 a.m. MDT, at the Pueblo Chemical Stockpile Outreach Office, 104 W. B St., Pueblo
Computer: Microsoft Teams
Phone: 1 323-457-4703, 691477423# Conference ID: 691 477 423#

Permitting Working Group and Biotreatment Utilization Group Meetings
July 27, 2022, at approximately 2 p.m. MDT
Colorado Chemical Demilitarization Citizens’ Advisory Commission Meeting
July 27, 2022, at approximately 2 p.m. MDT
For meeting access information, contact the Pueblo Chemical Stockpile Outreach Office at (719) 546‑0400 or pueblooutreach@iem.com

New to PCAPP?

PCAPP is a facility built to destroy the chemical weapons stockpile stored at PCD. The main plant uses neutralization followed by biotreatment to destroy 155mm and 105mm chemical weapons. The safety of the workforce and neighboring communities is the project’s priority.

The Program Executive Office, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives is targeting completion of the destruction of the remaining stockpile by the Chemical Weapons Convention treaty commitment of Sept. 30, 2023. U.S. Public Law 99-145 mandates stockpile destruction by Dec. 31, 2023.

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