A Static Detonation Chamber, known as the SDC 1200, destroyed the first containerized rocket warheads on Oct. 25 that had been previously drained of VX nerve agent in the Blue Grass main plant.
“Getting the SDC 1200 operating is a big step in safely destroying the remaining agent-contaminated secondary waste as part of the closure phase,” said Shannon Pendergrass, site project manager, Blue Grass plant. “The SDC units have proven their effectiveness.”
The SDC 1200 will destroy more than 17,000 containerized rocket warheads containing residual VX nerve agent. The VX M55 rocket destruction campaign was completed in April 2022 and the containers have been in safe storage on the Blue Grass Army Depot since then.
Workers originally used this SDC to destroy more than 15,000 155mm projectiles filled with mustard agent. That destruction campaign was completed in September 2021.
Since then, the SDC 1200 has been upgraded, including a new off-gas treatment system. It began testing last summer in preparation for operations and was declared operationally ready Oct. 19.
“During closure, we are paying just as much attention to safety for our workers and the environment as we did during operations,” said Ron Hink, project manager, Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass. “The SDC 1200 is an important part of that.”
The SDC 1200 uses thermal destruction technology to process secondary waste. Munition components are placed in a feed box (the last time workers will handle the munitions), conveyed to the top of the SDC vessel and fed into the electrically heated detonation chamber. The high heat destroys the agent residue and energetics by thermal decomposition. Resulting gases generated are treated by the off-gas treatment system that includes a thermal oxidizer, scrubbers and a carbon filter system.
A second, larger SDC unit, the SDC 2000, is destroying drained, containerized rocket warheads containing GB agent residue at the Blue Grass plant.