Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (BGCAPP) workers reached a major milestone this week as construction exceeded 75 percent complete for main plant facilities which will safely destroy the nerve agent stockpile of chemical weapons stored at the Blue Grass Army Depot.
“We currently have more than 290,000 square feet of facilities where we are performing construction and systemization activities,” said Doug Omichinski, Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass project manager. “As we complete the construction phase for systems and buildings, they are transitioned to a systemization phase so we can begin testing and validating those same systems and buildings will safely work as designed to support future plant operations.”
Since groundbreaking in 2006, BGCAPP systems contractor Bechtel Parsons has completed major concrete, steel and exterior work for BGCAPP’s main neutralization and Supercritical Water Oxidation (SCWO) processing facilities.
This includes installing the plant’s specialized equipment to take the munitions apart during plant operations so the energetics and agent can be safely removed as well as the neutralization process equipment and the equipment to thermally decontaminate the remaining metal parts.
In addition, workers have installed SCWO Process Building reactor units which will treat agent and energetic hydrolysates, the byproducts of the neutralization process.
A Control and Support Building, where future operations workers will remotely control the plant’s specialized equipment and processes, is also nearing completion.
A large portion of the work to date has also focused on the vast infrastructure needed to support future main plant operations. This has included construction completion of a Laboratory, Maintenance and Personnel Support buildings as well as an electrical substation and fire water pump house.
Work also continues on a Utility Building which will house equipment to produce steam, compressed air, chilled water and hot water for plant operations.
“This milestone sets the stage for the final phases of construction and marks countless hours of dedicated work performed by the team on this critical mission.” said Jeff Brubaker, BGCAPP site project manager. “With 75 percent completion we close this year with structural work for all major process buildings as complete with fully enclosed buildings and interior large-scale mechanical, electrical and piping system installations well underway.”
Additionally, BGCAPP has begun early design and permitting work for a Static Detonation Chamber, Explosive Destruction Technology (EDT) system to safely destroy mustard projectiles deemed unsuitable for processing through the main pilot plant.
Following the conclusion of an Environmental Assessment and “Finding of No Significant Impact,” an X-Ray assessment of the Blue Grass chemical weapons stockpile confirming solidified agent in a significant number of mustard projectiles and a full public involvement process, the Program Executive Office, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives (PEO ACWA) decided to proceed forward with use of EDT at Blue Grass.