The Pueblo plant team is seeking approval from Colorado regulators to begin a campaign to destroy munitions that were rejected from destruction in the main plant due to worker safety and other issues.
“It’s a slower and more meticulous process to get them through the system, so the sooner we start, the better,” said John Jackson, Static Detonation Chamber (SDC) deputy plant manager, Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (PCAPP).
The campaign will include approximately 420 rejects and leakers accumulated over the three munition campaigns – 105mm and 155mm projectiles and 4.2-inch mortar rounds. PCAPP ordnance technicians inspect all munitions before sending them to the Projectile/Mortar Disassembly system to start the automated destruction process. The munition is rejected if a technician observes a condition that could affect worker safety or plant processes, such as rust, contamination, or jammed internal components. Once identified, the reject is overpacked in a Single Round Container with a welded bottom and a bolted lid, documented, then transported to a storage igloo on the U.S. Army Pueblo Chemical Depot, where it is secured, monitored and periodically inspected by depot personnel.
Jackson said the overpacks will be destroyed in one of the Pueblo SDC units, which are currently eliminating 4.2-inch mortar rounds.
He added that the PCAPP team will use lessons learned from Kentucky’s Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant and replace overpack fasteners with aluminum studs to allow the lids to fall off more easily during the destruction process.
“We will do one overpack per box that feeds every two and a half hours, which is pretty conservative,” he said. “But we aren’t planning to be limited to just one of the SDC units, so it’s possible we could use multiple SDCs in processing the overpacks if necessary.”
About 90 of the overpacks contain energetics only and no agent, while 334 overpacks contain a munition with agent. Jackson said some of the rejected munitions from the 155mm campaign already were reprocessed in September using an improved technology, the Burster Rotating Adaptor Device.
Jackson said he hopes to get approval for the campaign from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment by the end of March and conclude the campaign within the two to three months following.