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Safety

Army Quickens Pace Of Weapons Disposal

by Glenn Hess
September 5, 2011 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 89, ISSUE 36

The Army says its Umatilla Chemical Agent Disposal Depot in northeast Oregon has accelerated the pace at which it is incinerating obsolete mustard blister agent. Fewer than 400 1-ton bulk containers of the liquid chemical weapon remain in the depot’s stockpile. The last mustard agent at the Umatilla facility is expected to be destroyed in November, well in advance of the April 2012 deadline set by the Chemical Weapons Convention, an international treaty. The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has given the depot permission to run its liquid incinerator at full capacity as demonstrated during a recent mustard agent trial burn and performance test. “The era of chemical munitions at Umatilla Chemical Depot is rapidly closing,” said Gary Anderson, the plant’s federal project manager, in a statement. “The government and contractor workforce are working around the clock to safely destroy the mustard agent, and we are ahead of schedule.” The project is the final chemical weapons demilitarization campaign at Umatilla. Various munitions and ton containers containing nerve agents were previously destroyed.

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