Chemical Weapons Destruction Project Reaches Milestone
The first phase of the ongoing $5 billion dollar chemical weapons destruction project near Richmond is complete.
In the making for close to a decade, the Blue Grass Chemical-Agent Destruction Pilot Plant is preparing to launch the “systemization” process, where workers are hired, trained, and begin rigorous testing of the facility – a step that’s expected to last up to three years.
One separate piece of the facility is still under construction, however. Chemical Destruction Community Advisory Board co-chair Craig Williams says it will handle the more stubborn mustard projectiles.
"The material inside those rounds has solidified to a point where it's not able to be drained and processed through the main plant, so they're bringing in this static detonation chamber or explosive detonation technology to handle those materials," he explains. "The operations on that phase will begin in 2017 and only take about a year."
In all, the full project – disposing of 523 tons of Cold War-era nerve and mustard agent – is officials slated for completion in 2023, though Williams says the date could be revised up depending on how quickly the facility comes online.