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Kentucky Chemical Weapons Disposal Facility Nearly 50 Percent Finished

Construction of the chemical weapons disposal facility at the Blue Grass Army Depot in Kentucky is expected to be halfway finished by summer, the Richmond Register reported on Wednesday (see GSN, Feb. 15).

The 130,000-square-foot plant is at the 46-percent point now and should be fully covered by roofing by the end of 2012, according to government site project manager Jeff Brubaker.

Blue Grass stores a host of munitions filled with 523 tons of nerve and blister agents that must be destroyed under the Chemical Weapons Convention. The Obama administration is seeking $411 million in the next federal budget for work to prepare the demilitarization site, where operations are expected to begin in 2018 and to conclude in 2021.

Meanwhile, an advisory group of local residents has thrown its support behind employing separate detonation units for eliminating roughly 15,000 mustard agent munitions that might prove dangerous if passed through the main neutralization plant, the newspaper reported (see GSN, Sept. 15, 2011). However, the panel said the system should not be used in destroying nerve agent weapons.

Brubaker said a determination on the matter would follow a one-year assessment as required under the National Environmental Policy Act. The state of Kentucky would also have to sign off on fielding the system, which was previously used to destroy 3,000 mustard agent munitions at the Anniston Army Depot in Alabama (Bill Robinson, Richmond Register, March 14).

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