U.S. Chemical Weapons Destruction 2018

♪ (Music) ♪>>Narrator: A clear and simple mission: destroy chemical weapons stockpile. Our vision: chemical weapons free by 2023. (Equipment shreds inert munition) Right now, in 2018, progress continues in the United States to safely destroy the nation’s
remaining chemical weapons stockpile, stored at two locations: the U.S. Army Pueblo Chemical Depot in Pueblo, Colorado, and the Blue Grass Army Depot near
Richmond, Kentucky. The Program Executive Office, Assembled Chemical
Weapons Alternatives, also known as ACWA, is the U.S. government
organization responsible for safely eliminating these obsolete weapons, while protecting the
workforce,>>Technician: I am going to hold your gloves,
and you pull your hand inside your suit.>>Narrator: residents
(Dog barks) and environment. (Water splashes in stream) The U.S. successfully destroyed more than 27-thousand tons of chemical agent stored
at various locations. This represents the safe elimination of roughly
90 percent of our original stockpile. What remains is less than 29-hundred tons
of chemical agent. Some mustard, some nerve
stored in hundreds of thousands of rockets, mortar rounds and projectiles. Originally intended for use on the battlefield,
these weapons were never used in war. Rather, for decades, the Army has safely stored
and monitored the stockpile. ♪ (Music) ♪ Working closely with local communities, ACWA constructed two pilot plants
and selected a water-based technology known as neutralization to destroy a majority of
the chemical agent. However, the program also added Explosive
Destruction Technologies, to get rid of so-called “problematic”
rounds, and hopefully, accelerate destruction schedules.>>Technician: Isn’t that pretty.>>Narrator: Problem rounds include munitions
that contain rust or solidified agent, or have leaked in the past and were overpacked. (Conveyor door opens)
♪ (Music) ♪ Here, at the Colorado site, agent destruction
operations began in 2016. (Horn beeps)
So far, the Pueblo team has safely destroyed more than 250 tons of mustard agent. The Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot
Plant, or PCAPP, was constructed to process a majority of the
Pueblo stockpile, which consists of agent-filled projectiles and mortar rounds.>>Operator: 3… 2… 1…We heard it. We heard it.>>Narrator: Meanwhile, a secondary technology,
the Explosive Destruction System, is used to handle rejects and leakers. ♪ (Music) ♪
At the main plant, the first year of pilot testing included some unexpected obstacles. For example, some of Colorado’s munitions
contain more rust than expected, damaging equipment like this and causing the plant
to experience episodes of unplanned downtime.>>Operator: We’re going to bring in like
20 drums.>>Narrator: Requiring workers to suit-up in
order to clean up or make repairs. The government’s systems contractor, the
Bechtel Pueblo Team, continues to make plant enhancements and upgrades,
with the goal of maintaining sustained plant operations throughout the lifecycle of the plant. ♪ (Music) ♪
(Equipment moves on conveyor) Meanwhile, here in Kentucky, testing is underway at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction
Pilot Plant, or BGCAPP, with the goal of beginning operations in 2019. (Robot moves)
The main plant will destroy Kentucky’s nerve agent stockpile stored in rockets and projectiles. And the Static Detonation Chamber was built
to process the mustard agent rounds, which according to X-rays, show the agent has solidified. The government’s systems contractor in Kentucky,
Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass, is hiring and training hundreds of plant operators,>>Technician: Start at the bottom and work your way up.>>Narrator: and rigorously testing all of
the plant’s systems that will dismantle and drain the munitions and neutralize the
agent. (Equipment shears inert munition.) (Inert munition part falls into container.) ♪ (Music) ♪
Both the Kentucky and Colorado sites are supported by the ACWA headquarters team located at Aberdeen
Proving Ground in Maryland, and a team of experienced technicians in Anniston,
Alabama.>>Technician: Happy place.>>Narrator: Working as one team, ACWA’s
highest priority is the safety of the workforce and the communities surrounding the depots. The program works closely with local, state
and federal regulators to permit the facilities, ensuring both pilot plants operate in compliance
with all environment laws and regulations. ♪ (Music) ♪
The U.S. is also committed to working with inspectors at the Organisation for the Prohibition
of Chemical Weapons, to verify destruction of the stockpile
and fulfill our pledge to an international treaty aimed at banning chemical weapons
around the world. ♪ (Music) ♪
ACWA is doing its part to eliminate the remaining 10 percent of the U.S. stockpile, with the
goal of making these communities safer and our country free of chemical weapons by
2023. ♪ (Music) ♪

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