HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (March 30, 2015) – The March 18 destruction of the first item in the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant Explosive Destruction System, or PCAPP EDS, marked another milestone for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Engineering and Support Center, Huntsville chemical demilitarization program.
Designated as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Life Cycle Project Manager for Chemical Demilitarization in 1990, Huntsville Center officially received the chemical demilitarization facility construction mission. The center’s Chemical Demilitarization Program has had a role in the design and/or construction of all nine of the Army’s chemical agent destruction facilities.
Only two facilities remain to complete the destruction of the nation’s chemical weapons stockpile — PCAPP near Pueblo, Colorado and the Blue Grass Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plant, or BGCAPP, near Richmond, Kentucky.
For each U.S. site, Huntsville Center Chemical Demilitarization and Engineering Directorate staff have overseen development of initial design requirements for the highly-automated state-of-the-art disposal facilities and overseen design and procurement of demilitarization equipment — to include the specialized robots that transfer materials to the appropriate processing stations at the Pueblo and Blue Grass facilities.
“We are very proud of our role in this extremely important mission for our Center and the nation,” said Steve Light, Chief of the Chemical Demilitarization Directorate’s Alternative Technologies Division at Huntsville Center. “It’s a great honor knowing we have contributed to making our nation and our world a safer place.”
Just minutes before noon March 18, the United States returned to honoring its international commitment when the first detonation occurred in the PCAPP EDS, which accessed the bottle filled with mustard agent, according to U.S. Army Pueblo Chemical Depot, or PCD staff. The PCAPP will destroy 2,611 tons of mustard agent contained in over 900,000 mortar rounds and artillery projectiles safely stored in munitions storage igloos at PCD.
“We are excited and proud to be back on a path of ridding our nation of chemical weapons,” said Bruce Huenefeld, PCAPP EDS site project manager at PCD. “We look forward to the day when the first projectile makes its way thought the main plant here later this year.”
Completion of BGCAPP facility construction, which is now about 93 percent complete, will bring an end to Huntsville Center’s Chemical Demilitarization Program. The BGCAPP will destroy 523 tons of chemical nerve agent in rockets and artillery projectiles stored safely in munitions storage igloos at the Blue Grass Army Depot.