Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant Monthly Recap – March 2023


Main Plant Update:

  • The main plant is using neutralization to destroy nerve-agent munitions. During operations, hydrolysate and non-agent-contaminated rocket motors, both considered secondary waste, are being shipped to permitted waste disposal facilities for final destruction.
  • GB nerve agent 8-inch projectile destruction began in January 2020 and was completed in May 2020.
  • VX nerve agent 155mm projectile destruction began in January 2021 and was completed in May 2021.
  • VX nerve agent M55 rocket destruction began in July 2021 and was completed in April 2022.
  • The first M55 rocket containing GB nerve agent was destroyed July 6, 2022.
  • This Month:
    • As of March 24, 62.9% of the GB rockets have been destroyed
    • Continued destruction of GB nerve agent-filled rockets
    • Average number of rockets processed daily continues on pace to meet September 2023 treaty commitment

Static Detonation Chamber (SDC) 2000 Update:

  • The Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (BGCAPP) is using this SDC unit to destroy a portion of the nerve-agent munitions, including full rocket overpacks and secondary waste products from destruction of the nerve-agent rockets, such as containerized, drained GB rocket warheads. Rockets that have leaked in the past and been placed in overpacked containers, rockets found unsuitable for processing in the main plant and containerized, undrained rocket warheads will also be destroyed in the SDC 2000.
  • This Month:
    • Continued operational ramp-up
    • Continued adjustment of destruction processing times
    • Preparing for start of emissions tests in late April

Earth-Covered Magazine (ECM) Rocket Operations Contingency Update:

  • Pending environmental permitting approvals, some M55 rockets containing GB nerve agent may be processed in the ECM. If approved, rocket warheads will be separated from rocket motors using equipment already permitted in the main plant. The undrained warheads will be containerized similarly to main plant processing and destroyed in the SDC 2000.
  • This Month:
    • Preparing for Control Room monitor mounts
    • Continued installation of fiber optics and cameras
    • Continued work on conveyor installation, 180-volt termination box
    • Continued installation of ductwork and backfilling water line

SDC 1200 Update:

  • BGCAPP is converting the Explosive Destruction Technology (EDT), previously used to destroy the mustard-agent munitions, into the SDC 1200. This SDC unit will destroy secondary waste products from destruction of the nerve-agent rockets: containerized, drained VX rocket warheads and potentially, containerized, drained and undrained GB rocket warheads.
  • This Month:
    • Continued heat trace installation
    • Completed electrical system turnover
    • Initiated potable water line flushing
    • Workforce continues to support SDC 2000 ECM project

EDT Facility

  • The EDT facility at BGCAPP used an SDC to destroy the mustard-agent munitions.
  • Mustard-agent 155mm projectile destruction began in June 2019 and was completed in September 2021.

Upcoming Meetings

The next Kentucky Chemical Demilitarization Citizens’ Advisory Commission and Chemical Destruction Community Advisory Board meeting will be held:
June 7, 2023, at 1:30 p.m. ET
Carl D. Perkins Building, Rooms A and B
Eastern Kentucky University
Richmond, Kentucky

For information about the meeting, contact the Blue Grass Chemical Stockpile Outreach Office at (859) 626-8944 or

New to BGCAPP?

The Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant is a state-of-the-art facility safely destroying the chemical weapons stockpile in storage at the Blue Grass Army Depot near Richmond, Kentucky. The main plant is using neutralization to destroy the nerve-agent stockpile. The decision was made to not use the supercritical water oxidation system to process hydrolysate, the product of the neutralization process. This secondary waste is shipped to a licensed and permitted hazardous waste treatment, storage and disposal facility. A Static Detonation Chamber (SDC) destroyed the mustard agent stockpile. This SDC, now known as the SDC 1200, and the larger SDC 2000, which began operations on Jan. 27, 2023, will augment the main plant by destroying drained rocket warheads and overpacked rockets, and potentially undrained rocket warheads. Pending environmental approvals, operations to separate problematic rocket warheads from rocket motors will take place in the SDC 2000 Earth-Covered Magazine. The warheads will be placed in special containers and sent to the SDC 2000 for destruction. The safety of the workforce and the environment, as well as of the neighboring communities, is the program’s most important priority.

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