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Neutralized VX By-product Safe to Transport

March 15, 2004 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 82, Issue 11

A 350-page study has confirmed that the waste by-product formed from the neutralization of VX nerve agent at the Army's Newport, Ind., chemical weapons storage site can be safely transported and treated at DuPont's Chambers Works treatment facility in New Jersey. DuPont's Secure Environmental Treatment unit is able to treat the by-product, or hydrolysate, biologically. The research was conducted by Du-Pont in anticipation of bidding for the contract to treat and dispose of the hydrolysate. The study was reviewed by scientists from the Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences at Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University and from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. Reviewers concluded that the Army's plan to treat the hydrolysate off-site poses no unique hazards: The hydrolysate can be transported and treated in a safe and environmentally sound manner. Two public informational meetings on the project will be held this week. The Army had originally planned to treat the nerve agent and the neutralized by-product on-site in Indiana, but after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the Army decided to expedite weapons disposal. To treat the by-product on-site, the Army would have had to build a supercritical water oxidation plant. DuPont is currently bidding for the contract.


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