RESTON, Va., Dec. 15, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- A Bechtel-led plant in Colorado has successfully begun its next campaign of chemical weapons destruction, bringing the nation closer to its goal of eradicating the national stockpile by 2023.
At the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant in Pueblo, a 105mm artillery projectile filled with mustard agent was robotically opened and drained on December 12. It is the first of some 380,000 projectiles scheduled to be processed in this campaign.
"As a signatory to the Chemical Weapons Convention treaty, the U.S. is committed to destroying the remaining stockpile," said Barbara Rusinko, president of Bechtel's Nuclear, Security & Environmental global business unit. "Our team is equally committed to completing the mission and doing it safely."
Project Manager Ken Harrawood said, "Our first campaign was completed safely and without a lost-time accident or incident. The plant has been retrofitted to handle smaller projectiles, we're trained, and we're ready to safely restart."
The plant uses a two-stage process to destroy the toxins: chemical neutralization followed by biotreatment using living microbes. The remnants are salts, water, and organics.
For decades, 780,000 chemical munitions have been stored at the U.S. Army Pueblo Chemical Depot. Destruction began in 2015 with an inventory of 155mm artillery projectiles. That campaign completed in September of this year.
A sister plant in Richmond, Kentucky began operations earlier this year. Both sites host inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to verify compliance with the Chemical Weapons Convention, signed by more than 190 nations.
The Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant was built and is being operated under contract to the Department of Defense's Program Executive Office, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives. Bechtel Pueblo Team includes subcontractors Amentum and Battelle.
Historic commitment to global security
Since the 1980s, Bechtel has had an active role in U.S. and international efforts to eliminate chemical weapons. With the destruction of the stockpiles underway in Colorado and Kentucky, along with previous projects in Alabama and Maryland, Bechtel will have safely eliminated nearly 5,000 tons of chemical weapons in rockets, artillery rounds, mortar shells, and storage canisters at four of the nine original U.S. storage depots.
Bechtel is a trusted engineering, construction and project management partner to industry and government. Differentiated by the quality of our people and our relentless drive to deliver the most successful outcomes, we align our capabilities to our customers' objectives to create a lasting positive impact. Since 1898, we have helped customers complete more than 25,000 projects in 160 countries on all seven continents that have created jobs, grown economies, improved the resiliency of the world's infrastructure, increased access to energy, resources, and vital services, and made the world a safer, cleaner place.
Bechtel serves the Infrastructure; Nuclear, Security & Environmental; Oil, Gas & Chemicals; and Mining & Metals markets. Our services span from initial planning and investment, through start-up and operations. www.Bechtel.com