Destruction of aging chemical weapons underway in Richmond

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Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant workers place the first 8-inch projectile containing GB nerve agent in a tray to begin the destruction process in the Munitions Demilitarization Building Jan. 16, 2020.

RICHMOND, Ky. (WTVQ) – The Blue Grass Army Depot (BGAD) has started destroying its stockpile of nerve gas in Madison County.

The depot says the first 8-inch projectile containing GB nerve agent was destroyed last week.

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This marks the first nerve agent destruction in the United States in more than a decade, the last VX landmine was destroyed at the Anniston Chemical Agent Disposal Facility in Alabama in 2009.

“This is another major milestone toward eliminating the total chemical weapons stockpile in Kentucky,” said Dr. Candace Coyle, site project manager. “With each munition destroyed, we are making Madison and surrounding counties a safer place to live.”

The plant will destroy munitions containing nerve agent through a two-step process called neutralization followed by supercritical water oxidation, known as SCWO.



The chemical weapons stockpile at BGAD originally consisted of approximately 523 tons of chemical agent.

In June 2019, the Static Detonation Chamber, an explosive destruction technology, began destroying the mustard stockpile.

As of January 10, more than 15 tons of chemical agent had been destroyed in Kentucky.

The stockpile sites in Colorado and Kentucky account for the last 10 percent of what was originally a national stockpile of more than 30,000 tons of chemical weapons.

The U.S. Army Chemical Materials Activity destroyed the initial 90-percent, which was stored at seven other sites across the U.S. and on Johnston Atoll in the Pacific.

Both sites will complete destruction of chemical weapons by December 31, 2023.