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Energy

Army To Detonate Chemical Weapons

by Glenn Hess
March 8, 2010 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 88, ISSUE 10

A Pentagon-proposed detonation of a portion of the chemical weapons stored at the Pueblo Chemical Depot, in Colorado, would have “no significant impact” on human health or the environment, according to a draft assessment by the Army. The study explored the possibility of using explosive detonation technologies to destroy 125,000 mustard-agent-filled shells stored at the site. The technologies employ explosive charges inside specially made closed chambers to destroy the munitions. The Pentagon announced last December that it was considering exploding approximately 15% of the chemical weapons stockpiled at the Pueblo facility and at the Blue Grass Army Depot, in Richmond, Ky. Pueblo has a stockpile of 2,611 tons of mustard agent, and Blue Grass stores 523 tons of nerve and blister agents. The technologies being evaluated for possible use include an “explosive destruction system” developed by the Army and several commercially available alternatives used in other countries. Officials hope to complete destruction of the Pueblo chemical weapons stockpile by 2017, which would meet a deadline set by Congress.

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