Explosive Destruction Technology Overview
The Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant, or BGCAPP, is safely and efficiently destroying the chemical weapons stockpile currently in storage at the Blue Grass Army Depot. A two-step technology, neutralization followed by supercritical water oxidation, is destroying a majority of the chemical weapons. However, the use of an explosive destruction technology (EDT) is necessary to destroy a portion of the inventory of chemical munitions that present a problem to process in the main plant. The EDT chosen to augment the main plant is the Static Detonation Chamber (SDC).
A 2011 X-ray assessment of the Blue Grass chemical weapons stockpile confirmed the solidification of mustard agent in a significant number of 155mm mustard projectiles, rendering them unsuitable for automated processing in the main plant. These problematic munitions, together with some 200 mustard projectiles that have leaked in the past and are now overpacked, require a different technological approach for their destruction. To resolve this issue, an SDC 1200 is destroying all of the approximately 15,000 mustard projectiles, as well as two 3-gallon Department of Transportation bottles containing mustard agent.
In 2019, due to worker safety concerns, a decision was made to no longer use the Energetics Neutralization System to process M55 rocket warheads in which the nerve agent has been drained. Instead, these drained warheads, along with overpacked M55 rockets, will be processed in the SDC 1200 or a larger SDC 2000, which is in the process of being procured and permitted.