Members of the Blue Grass plant workforce have started planning for closure, even though the main plant is in operations and the Static Detonation Chamber 2000 is nearing the start of its operational period.
“The closure phase is just as complicated as the construction and operations phases, so we’re working ahead on it,” said Karl Slaughenhaupt, principal deputy, Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant. “It involves a lot of actions, including workforce drawdown, property dispositioning, decontamination and destruction of facilities and finally, close-out of our permits.”
Right now, the main effort is focused on planning, with project personnel developing detailed closure plans on multiple topics, Slaughenhaupt said. These include decontamination and decommissioning plans for each main plant room, Individual Health Based Risk Assessments by room, decommissioning sampling plans and a Resource Conservation and Recovery Act closure plan.
“We’re well on our way toward putting that information together,” said Ron Hink, project manager, Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass. “Phase 1 of closure is under contract, which covers everything up to unventilated monitoring. That means the facility will be decontaminated to the point where it is safe for workers to perform their duties without agent-protective gear.”
Phase 2, which covers demolition of the facility, is scheduled to be contracted in late 2023. This will provide some time for program and project personnel to work with the local community when it comes to potential reuse of equipment, structures and utilities, according to Michael Abaie, program executive officer, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives.
A community working group focused on closure is scheduled to begin meeting in January 2023.