Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant Monthly Recap – July 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:

  • The 105mm projectile destruction campaign ended on July 20, approximately 19 months after it began in December 2020. The original chemical weapons stockpile stored at PCD contained approximately 383,000 105mm projectiles. Throughout the campaign, the PCAPP workforce destroyed an average of 650 105mm projectiles per day.
  • The conclusion of the 105mm projectile destruction campaign was recognized in a special event July 27 at the Sangre de Cristo Arts and Conference Center in Pueblo. Nearly 200 workforce and community members attended the event, which featured comments from U.S. Department of Defense and U.S. Department of State representatives, including Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Arms Control, Verification and Compliance Mallory Stewart.

Main Plant Update:

  • Following the conclusion of the 105mm projectile destruction campaign July 20, approximately 92,000 munitions await destruction. Of the original stockpile stored at PCD, more than 2,300 U.S. tons of chemical agent has been destroyed.
  • Engineers are preparing to reconfigure the plant’s automated destruction systems to safely destroy previously rejected 155mm projectiles as well as a portion of the PCD inventory of 4.2-inch mortar rounds. To destroy 155mm rejects, a Burster Rotating Adaptor Device, or BRAD, would be used. BRADs are credited with the low numbers of rejects during the 105mm campaign but were not yet developed during the 155mm campaign. To destroy the 4.2-inch mortar rounds, an Improved Cavity Access Machine, or ICAM, could be used. Plant officials said the use of ICAM technology will increase the rates of 4.2-inch mortar round destruction. The ICAM process plans are under review by Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment regulators.

Static Detonation Chamber (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.
  • CDPHE regulators have given their approval to increase destruction rates at SDC Unit No. 2 to 75% capacity, approximately four rounds per hour. SDC Units 1 and 3 continue to operate at 50% capacity, or three rounds per hour. Rates are limited pending regulatory review of SDC agent trial burn testing The tests, which occurred in two phases, demonstrated each SDC unit operates as designed. The first phase consisted of non-agent tests while the second phase evaluated each unit’s ability to destroy agent-filled munitions.
  • The original stockpile 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 complex, approximately 6,600 rounds have been destroyed. In the month of July, more than 2,000 rounds were destroyed.

Upcoming Meetings

Permit Modification Request Public Meetings
Aug. 31, 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, 674967227# Conference ID: 674 967 227#

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 most important 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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