The Blue Grass team destroyed 50% of the chemical agent originally stored at the Blue Grass Army Depot as of Sept. 9.
“This is a very important occurrence for the team and the community,” said Dr. Candace Coyle, site project manager, Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant. “It’s a milestone that reflects the depth of government commitment and the dedication of the workforce in our relentless destruction of these aging munitions.”
While destruction of the total number of munitions at the depot passed the 50% mark Aug. 1, the 50% destruction of the chemical agent contained in the weapons took a little longer. The discrepancy in those amounts is due to agent weight variances among the different munitions, Coyle said.
Previously, the Blue Grass plant destroyed 155mm projectiles containing mustard agent using the Explosive Destruction Technology and 8-inch projectiles containing GB nerve agent, 155mm projectiles containing VX nerve agent and M55 rockets containing VX nerve agent in the main plant. The current destruction of M55 rockets containing GB nerve agent is the plant’s fifth and final campaign.
“We are very proud to be a part of the destruction of these weapons,” said Ron Hink, project manager, Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass. “The team has worked safely and diligently to destroy half of the agent and will provide the same level of attention to destroying the second half. Our focus has always been the safety of the workforce, community and environment and we’ll maintain that focus to the very end.”
Mustard-agent projectiles were delivered to the Blue Grass Army Depot in the 1940s in support of U.S. wartime efforts. Nerve-agent munitions came later, in the 1960s. Altogether, the chemical munitions stockpile in Kentucky totaled 523 tons of chemical agent. The Program Executive Office, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives is responsible for completing stockpile destruction operations in Kentucky and at the U.S. Army Pueblo Chemical Depot by the Chemical Weapons Convention treaty commitment of Sept. 30, 2023.