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Disposal of Chemical Weapons Via Non-Incineration Technologies

 

2013 
2013 BGCAPP SCWO

Assessment of Supercritical Water Oxidation System Testing for the Blue Grass Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plant

Assessment of Supercritical Water Oxidation System Testing for the Blue Grass Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plant reviews and evaluates the results of the tests conducted on one of the SCWO units to be provided to Blue Grass Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plant.

The Army Element, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives (ACWA) is responsible for managing the conduct of destruction operations for the remaining 10 percent of the nation's chemical agent stockpile, stored at the Blue Grass Army Depot (Kentucky) and the Pueblo Chemical Depot (Colorado). Facilities to destroy the agents and their associated munitions are currently being constructed at these sites. The Blue Grass Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plant (BGCAPP) will destroy chemical agent and some associated energetic materials by a process of chemical neutralization known as hydrolysis. The resulting chemical waste stream is known as hydrolysate. Among the first-of-a-kind equipment to be installed at BGCAPP are three supercritical water oxidation (SCWO) reactor systems. These particular hydrolysate feeds present unique non-agent-related challenges to subsequent processing via SCWO due to their caustic nature and issues of salt management.This report provides recommendations on SCWO systemization testing inclusive of durability testing and discusses systemization testing objectives and concepts.

 

2013 PCAPP WRS-BRS

Review of Biotreatment, Water Recovery, and Brine Reduction Systems for the Pueblo Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plant 

The Pueblo Chemical Depot (PCD) in Colorado is one of two sites that features U.S. stockpile of chemical weapons that need to be destroyed. The PCD features about 2,600 tons of mustard-including agent. The PCD also features a pilot plant, the Pueblo Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plant (PCAPP), which has been set up to destroy the agent and munition bodies using novel processes. The chemical neutralization or hydrolysis of the mustard agent produces a Schedule 2 compound called thiodiglycol (TDG) that must be destroyed. The PCAPP uses a combined water recovery system (WRS) and brine reduction system (BRS) to destroy TDG and make the water used in the chemical neutralization well water again. 

 

Since the PCAPP is using a novel process, the program executive officer for the Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives (ACWA) program asked the National Research Council (NRC) to initiate a study to review the PCAPP WRS-BRS that was already installed at PCAPP. 5 months into the study in October, 2012, the NRC was asked to also review the Biotreatment area (BTA). The Committee on Review of Biotreatment, Water Recovery, and Brine Reduction Systems for the Pueblo Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plant was thus tasked with evaluating the operability, life-expectancy, working quality, results of Biotreatment studies carried out prior to 1999 and 1999-2004, and the current design, systemization approached, and planned operation conditions for the Biotreatment process. 
 
Review of Biotreatment, Water Recovery, and Brine Reduction Systems for the Pueblo Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plant is the result of the committee's investigation. The report includes diagrams of the Biotreatment area, the BRS, and WRS; a table of materials of construction, the various recommendations made by the committee; and more.
 
 
 2012 
2012 BGCAPP Rocket Motor Disposal

Disposal Options for the Rocket Motors from Nerve Agent Rockets Stored at Blue Grass Army Depot
The Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (BGCAPP) is under construction near Richmond, Kentucky, to dispose of one of the two remaining stockpiles of chemical munitions in the United States. The stockpile that BGCAPP will dispose of is stored at the Blue Grass Army Depot (BGAD). BGCAPP is a tenant activity on BGAD.

The stockpile stored at BGAD consists of mustard agent loaded in projectiles, and the nerve agents GB and VX loaded into projectiles and M55 rockets. BGCAPP will process the rockets by cutting them, still in their shipping and firing tube (SFT), between the warhead and motor sections of the rocket. The warhead will be processed through BGCAPP. The separated rocket motors that have been monitored for chemical agent and cleared for transportation outside of BGCAPP, the subject of this report, will be disposed of outside of BGCAPP. Any motors found to be contaminated with chemical agent will be processed through BGCAPP and are not addressed in this report.

The report addresses safety in handling the separated rocket motors with special attention to the electrical ignition system, the need for adequate storage space for the motors in order to maintain the planned disposal rate at BGCAPP, thermal and chemical disposal technologies, and on-site and off-site disposal options. On-site is defined as disposal on BGAD, and off-site is defined as disposal by a commercial or government facility outside of BGAD.

 

2012 ACWA Monitoring-Web

Assessment of Agent Monitoring Strategies for the Blue Grass and Pueblo Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plants
January 2012 saw the completion of the U.S. Army's Chemical Materials Agency's (CMA's) task to destroy 90 percent of the nation's stockpile of chemical weapons. CMA completed destruction of the chemical agents and associated weapons deployed overseas, which were transported to Johnston Atoll, southwest of Hawaii, and demilitarized there. The remaining 10 percent of the nation's chemical weapons stockpile is stored at two continental U.S. depots, in Lexington, Kentucky, and Pueblo, Colorado. Their destruction has been assigned to a separate U.S. Army organization, the Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives (ACWA) Element.

ACWA is currently constructing the last two chemical weapons disposal facilities, the Pueblo and Blue Grass Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plants (denoted PCAPP and BGCAPP), with weapons destruction activities scheduled to start in 2015 and 2020, respectively. ACWA is charged with destroying the mustard agent stockpile at Pueblo and the nerve and mustard agent stockpile at Blue Grass without using the multiple incinerators and furnaces used at the five CMA demilitarization plants that dealt with assembled chemical weapons - munitions containing both chemical agents and explosive/propulsive components. The two ACWA demilitarization facilities are congressionally mandated to employ noncombustion-based chemical neutralization processes to destroy chemical agents.

In order to safely operate its disposal plants, CMA developed methods and procedures to monitor chemical agent contamination of both secondary waste materials and plant structural components. ACWA currently plans to adopt these methods and procedures for use at these facilities. The Assessment of Agent Monitoring Strategies for the Blue Grass and Pueblo Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plants report also develops and describes a half-dozen scenarios involving prospective ACWA secondary waste characterization, process equipment maintenance and changeover activities, and closure agent decontamination challenges, where direct, real-time agent contamination measurements on surfaces or in porous bulk materials might allow more efficient and possibly safer operations if suitable analytical technology is available and affordable.

 

 NO COVER IMAGE

 

The Department of Defense, through the Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives program, is currently constructing a full-scale pilot plant at the Blue Grass Army Depot in Kentucky to destroy one of the last two remaining inventories of chemical weapons in the U.S. stockpile.
After chemical warfare agent is destroyed by chemical neutralization and the resulting waste stream is processed by supercritical water oxidation, a water recovery system at will employ reverse osmosis to separate salts from the waste water that results from these processes. The design goal is to reuse 70 percent of the water that exits the supercritical water oxidation system as quench water in that system. This report is a review and assessment of the planned water recovery system for this plant, focusing on the operability of the water recovery system and the suitability of its materials of construction. It is worth noting that, by the time the process streams reach the water recovery system, there will be no chemical agent remaining.
 
 2011 

2011 ACWA PSM

 

Assessment of Approaches for Using Process Safety Metrics at the Blue Grass and Pueblo Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plants (2011)
The Department of Defense, through the Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives program, is currently in the process of constructing two full-scale pilot plants at the Pueblo Chemical Depot in Colorado and the Blue Grass Army Depot in Kentucky to destroy the last two remaining inventories of chemical weapons in the U.S. stockpile. Unlike their predecessors, these facilities will use neutralization technologies to destroy agents contained within rockets, projectiles, and mortar rounds, requiring the use of specially designed equipment. Concern about potential problems associated with using this "first-of-a-kind" equipment, and the need to ensure that plant operations adhere to congressional mandates calling for the maximum protection of workers, the public, and the environment, led the Program Manager for Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives to request that the National Research Council undertake a study to guide the development and application of process safety metrics for the Pueblo and Blue Grass facilities.
 
 2009 
ACWA EDT

Assessment of Explosive Destruction Technologies for Specific Munitions at the Blue Grass and Pueblo Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plants

The Army's ability to meet public and congressional demands to destroy expeditiously all of the U.S. declared chemical weapons would be enhanced by the selection and acquisition of appropriate explosive destruction technologies (EDTs) to augment the main technologies to be used to destroy the chemical weapons currently at the Blue Grass Army Depot (BGAD) in Kentucky and the Pueblo Chemical Depot (PCD) in Colorado. The Army is considering four EDTs for the destruction of chemical weapons: three from private sector vendors, and a fourth, Army-developed explosive destruction system (EDS).

This book updates earlier evaluations of these technologies, as well as any other viable detonation technologies, based on several considerations including process maturity, process efficacy, process throughput, process safety, public and regulatory acceptability, and secondary waste issues, among others. It also provides detailed information on each of the requirements at BGAD and PCD and rates each of the existing suitable EDTs plus the Army's EDS with respect to how well it satisfies these requirements.

 

 2008 

 

 

Review of Secondary Waste Disposal Planning for the Blue Grass and Pueblo Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plants

The U.S. Army Program Manager for Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives (PMACWA) is charged with disposing of chemical weapons as stored at two sites: Pueblo, Colorado, and Blue Grass, Kentucky. In accordance with congressional mandates, technologies other than incineration are to be used if they are as safe and as cost effective. The weapons are to be disposed of in compliance with the Chemical Weapons Convention. Although an element of the U.S. Army, the PMACWA is responsible to the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Acquisitions, Technology, and Logistics for completing this mission.

This book deals with the expected significant quantities of secondary wastes that will be generated during operations of the facilities and their closure. While there are only estimates for the waste quantities that will be generated, they provide a good basis for planning and developing alternatives for waste disposal while the plants are still in the design phase. Establishing efficient disposal options for the secondary wastes can enable more timely and cost-effective operation and closure of the facilities.

 

 

 

Review and Assessment of Developmental Issues Concerning Metal Parts Treater Design for the Blue Grass Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plant

The United States is in the process of destroying its chemical weapons stockpile. In 1996, Congress mandated that DOD demonstrate and select alternative methods to incineration at the Blue Grass and Pueblo sites. The Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives (ACWA) program was setup to oversee the development of these methods, and pilot plants were established at both sites. One of the new technologies being developed at the Blue Grass pilot plant are metal parts treaters (MPTs) to be used for the empty metal munitions cases. During recent testing, some issues arose with the MPTs that caused the ACWA to request a review by the NRC to investigate and determine their causes. This book presents a discussion of the MPT system; an assessment of the MPT testing activities; an analysis of thermal testing, modeling, and predicted throughput of the MPT; and an examination of the applicability of munitions treatment units under development at Pueblo for the Blue Grass pilot plant.
 

 2006 

 NO COVER IMAGE

 

Letter Report of Review and Assessment of the Proposals for Design and Operation of Designated Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plants (DCAPP-Blue Grass) (Letter Report)

In 2003, the Army asked for proposals for a full-scale pilot plant to destroy chemical weapons the Blue Grass Army Depot using a neutralization process. The initial proposal from Bechtel and Parsons Corporations, using a supercritical water oxidation process (SCWO), proved to be too costly, so the Army asked for a revised proposal. At the same time, the Army asked the NRC to form committees to review and assess this proposal along with one developed for the chemical weapon storage facility in Pueblo, CO. This letter report provides an assessment of the intermediate design proposal of the modified SCWO Blue Grass Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plant. The assessment is confined to the technical aspects, maturity, and schedule of the proposed facility.

 

 NO COVER IMAGE

 

Review and Assessment of the Proposals for Design and Operation of Designated Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plants (DCAPP-Blue Grass II) (Letter Report)

In 2002, the Army asked for proposals for a full-scale pilot plant to destroy chemical weapons at the Pueblo Chemical Depot and, in 2003, for a similar plant for the Blue Grass Army Depot. In both cases, the initial designs proved to be too costly, and redesigns were requested. At the same time, the Army asked the NRC to form committees to review and assess these proposals. This report focuses on the technical aspects, maturity, and schedule for the proposed full intermediate design for the Blue Grass facility, less the supercritical water oxidation process, which was reviewed in a previous report.

 

 NO COVER IMAGE

 

Review and Assessment of the Proposals for Design and Operation of Designated Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plants (DCAPP-Pueblo) (Letter Report)

In 2002, the Army asked for proposals for a full-scale pilot plant to destroy chemical weapons at the Pueblo Chemical Depot and, in 2003, for a similar plant for the Blue Grass Army Depot. In both cases, the initial designs proved to be too costly, and redesigns were requested. At the same time, the Army asked the NRC to form committees to review and assess these proposals. This report focuses on the technical aspects, maturity, and schedule of the proposed modified design for the Pueblo facility.

 

 2005 

 

 

Interim Design Assessment for the Blue Grass Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plant

Because of concerns about incineration, the Department of Defense plans to use alternative means to destroy the chemical agent stockpiles at the Pueblo and Blue Grass facilities. The DOD contracted with Bechtel Parsons to design and operate pilot plants for this purpose. As part of the NRC efforts to assist the DOD with its chemical demilitarization efforts, the Department requested a review and assessment of the Bechtel designs for both plants. An earlier report presented an assessment of the Pueblo design. This report provides a review of the Blue Grass Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plant based on review of data and information about the initial design and some intermediate design data. Among other topics, the report presents technical risk assessment issues, an analysis of delivery and disassembly operations and of agent destruction core processes, and an examination of waste treatment.

 

 

 

Interim Design Assessment for the Pueblo Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plant

In 1996, Congress enacted directing the Department of Defense to assess and demonstrate technology alternatives to incineration for destruction of the chemical weapons stored at Pueblo Chemical and Blue Grass Army Depots. Since then, the National Research Council (NRC) has been carrying out evaluations of candidate technologies including reviews of engineering design studies and demonstration testing. Most recently, the NRC was asked by the Army to evaluate designs for pilot plants at Pueblo and Blue Grass. These pilot plants would use chemical neutralization for destroying the chemical agent and the energetics in the munitions stockpiles of these two depots. This report provides the interim assessment of the Pueblo Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plant (PCAPP) to permit adjustment of any significant problems as soon as possible. The report presents an analysis of the issues about the current PCAPP design and a series of findings and recommendations about ways to reduce concerns with involve the public more heavily in the process.

 

 NO COVER IMAGE

 

Review and Assessment of Program Options for Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plants at Blue Grass (Letter Report)

The DOD has contracted with Bechtel National, Inc.-Parsons Infrastructure and Technology Group, Inc. to design and operate a pilot plant for the destruction of chemical agent at the Blue Grass chemical weapons storage facilities. As part of the NRC efforts to assist the DOD with its chemical demilitarization efforts, the Department requested a review and assessment of the Bechtel-Parsons proposal. This letter report presents the review of the proposal for the Blue Grass Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plant (BGCAPP). It also presents an assessment of alternative configurations developed by the study committee. Several factors, including technical feasibility, public acceptance, equipment availability, and safety, were used to evaluate the life-cycle cost and schedule implications of the alternatives for the BGCAPP. These assessments are primarily the result of the consensus judgments of the committee based in the substantial project management experience of its members.

 

 NO COVER IMAGE

 

Review and Assessment of Proposals for Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plant at Pueblo, Colorado (Letter Report)

The DOD has contracted with Bechtel National, Inc. to design and operate pilot plants for the destruction of chemical agent at both the Pueblo and Blue Grass chemical weapons storage facilities. As part of the NRC efforts to assist the DOD with its chemical demilitarization efforts, the Department requested a review and assessment of the Bechtel proposals for both plants. This letter report presents the review of the proposal for the Pueblo Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plant (PCAPP). This letter report presents that assessment along with one of an alternative design suggested by Mitretek and of the desirability of technically viable alternatives developed by the NRC study committee. These assessments are primarily the result of the consensus judgments of the committee based in the substantial project management experience of its members. A second letter report will be issued on the Blue Grass Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plant design.

 

 2002 

 

 

Analysis of Engineering Design Studies for Demilitarization of Assembled Chemical Weapons at Blue Grass Army Depot

The U.S. Army is in the process of destroying the nation’s stockpile of aging chemical weapons stored at eight locations in the continental United States and on Johnston Atoll in the Pacific. Originally, incineration was chosen for the destruction of these stores, but this method has met with public opposition, and Congress directed the Army to develop alternative technologies for destroying the stockpiles in Pueblo, CO and Richmond, KY. To assist the Army in this process, the NRC was asked to evaluate the engineering design study of the three Blue Grass candidates. This report presents an analysis of various issues pertaining to the proposed engineering design package for the Blue Grass facility.

 NO COVER IMAGE

 

Update on the Engineering Design Studies Evaluated in the NRC Report, Analysis of Engineering Design Studies for Demilitarization of Assembled Chemical Weapons at Blue Grass Army Depot (Letter Report)

 

 NO COVER IMAGE

 

Update on the Engineering Design Studies Evaluated in the NRC Report Analysis of Engineering Design Studies for Demilitarization of Assembled Chemical Weapons at Pueblo Chemical Depot (Letter Report)

 

 NO COVER IMAGE

 

Update on NRC Recommendations for a Modified Baseline Process at Pueblo Chemical Depot (Letter Report)

 

 2001 

 

 

Analysis of Engineering Design Studies for Demilitarization of Assembled Chemical Weapons at Pueblo Chemical Depot
 

 

 

Evaluation of Demonstration Test Results of Alternative Technologies for Demilitarization of Assembled Chemical Weapons: A Supplemental Review for Demonstration II

 

 2000 

 

 

Evaluation of Demonstration Test Results of Alternative Technologies for Demilitarization of Assembled Chemical Weapons: A Supplemental Review

Integrated Design Bulk Only Facilities

 

 Integrated Design of Alternative Technologies for Bulk-Only Chemical Agent Disposal Facilities
 1999 

 

 

Review and Evaluation of Alternative Technologies for Demilitarization of Assembled Chemical Weapons
 1996 

 

 

Review and Evaluation of Alternative Chemical Disposal Technologies

In 1994 the National Research Council published Recommendations for the Disposal of Chemical Agents and Munitions, which assessed the status of various alternative destruction technologies in comparison to the Army's baseline incineration system. The volume's main finding was that no alternative technology was preferable to incineration but that work should continue on the neutralization technologies under Army consideration.
In light of the fact that alternative technologies have evolved since the 1994 study, this new volume evaluates five Army-chosen alternatives to the baseline incineration system for the disposal of the bulk nerve and mustard agent stored in ton containers at Army sites located in Newport, Indiana, and Aberdeen, Maryland, respectively. The committee assessed each technology by conducting site visits to the locations of the technology proponent companies and by meeting with state regulators and citizens of the affected areas. This volume makes recommendations to the Army on which, if any, of the five technologies has reached a level of maturity appropriate for consideration for pilot-scale testing at the two affected sites.

 1993 

 

 

Alternative Technologies for the Destruction of Chemical Agents and Munitions

The U.S. Army Chemical Stockpile Disposal Program was established with the goal of destroying the nation's stockpile of lethal unitary chemical weapons. Since 1990 the U.S. Army has been testing a baseline incineration technology on Johnston Island in the southern Pacific Ocean. Under the planned disposal program, this baseline technology will be imported in the mid to late 1990s to continental United States disposal facilities; construction will include eight stockpile storage sites.

In early 1992 the Committee on Alternative Chemical Demilitarization Technologies was formed by the National Research Council to investigate potential alternatives to the baseline technology. This book, the result of its investigation, addresses the use of alternative destruction technologies to replace, partly or wholly, or to be used in addition to the baseline technology. The book considers principal technologies that might be applied to the disposal program, strategies that might be used to manage the stockpile, and combinations of technologies that might be employed.

 1991 

 NO COVER IMAGE

 

Comments on Proposed Cryofracture Program Testing (Letter Report)

Demilitarization of Chemical Weapons by Cryofracture: A Technical Assessment  

Siting of Cryofracture Chemical Stockpile Disposal Facility (Letter Report)

 

 1989 

 NO COVER IMAGE

 

Demilitarization of Chemical Weapons: Cryofracture (Letter Report)