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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


PANTEX PLANT

Firing Sites

Firing Site Pictures

Pantex Plant Active Firing Sites (FS) are FS-4, 10, 21, and 22. Each active firing site encompasses approximately 15 to 20 acres and typically includes a reinforced control structure and a test shot area surrounded on three sides by an earthen berm. Within the berm area of FS-4, there is a gravel filled pit which is used in association with high explosive (HE) testing programs. Firing Sites 4 and 10 are research and development test firing bunker facilities that have been used for testing of HE associated with depleted uranium and metallic parts. Firing Sites 21 and 22 are devoted to quality assurance shots for evaluation of weapons high explosives, and development shots for testing and evaluation of new explosive compounds.

FS-4 is located approximately 1,000 ft north of Sheridan Drive and 2,500 ft west of North 14th Street. The approximate dimensions of this unit are 60 by 80 ft. It is constructed of bare soil, concrete, and asphalt. The unit is bermed on three sides with 10 to 15 ft of soil. A drain is located in the corner of the bermed area to drain runoff from the area. This runoff may pick up HE or radioactive material and carry it outside the FS. FS-4 began operation 30 or 40 years ago and is still active. This unit receives waste residue from test shots. The larger pieces of waste from the unit are picked up and sent to the Burning Grounds for disposal. Smaller parts remain on the ground. FS-4 consists of a dirt or gravel surface where test shots are fired. At the center, the area is paved with concrete or asphalt. Since 1953, FS-4 has been used for tests of the hydrodynamic behavior of simulated weapons components in combination with HE. The surface soil at FS-4 has depleted uranium as a result of past test firing shots. Chemicals potentially released from this unit include HE, radionuclides, and beryllium.

The FS-5 complex functioned as a research and development complex for testing HE compounds in association with depleted uranium (DU). The complex (consisting of an underground bunker, an HE detonation test pad, an underground HE/DU test gravel pit, a small auxiliary building, and an earthen berm) was divided into 3 principal areas for remediation: the Low Anomaly Area (LAA), located furthest from the detonation area; the High Anomaly Area (HAA) immediately surrounding the earthen berm; and the Berm Area, encompassing the bunker, shot pad, and gravel pit. FS-5 is located approximately 2,000 ft to the south of FS-4. The approximate dimensions of FS-5 are 60 by 80 ft. It is constructed of bare soil, concrete, and asphalt. The unit is bermed on three sides with 10 to 15 ft of soil. A drain is located in the corner of the bermed area for runoff. This runoff may pick up HE or radio-active material. FS-5 was the prime location of test shots of combined HE and depleted uranium. The ground at FS-5 is contaminated with uranium-238 from a series of test firings. Since 1953, FS-5 was used for tests of the hydrodynamic behavior of simu-lated weapons components in combination with HE. Chemicals potentially released from this unit include HE and radionuclides.

FS-6 was located in Zone 6. This former site was approximately 500 ft north of Pantex Drive and 1,000 ft east of Building 16-17. FS-6 was demolished sometime after 1967 along with other buildings. There is no remaining evidence of FS-6. The approximate dimensions were 60 by 80 ft. FS-6 was constructed of bare soil, concrete, and asphalt. It was bermed on three sides with 10 to 15 ft of soil. This unit received waste residue from test shots. The larger pieces of waste from the unit were picked up and sent to the Burning Grounds for disposal. Smaller parts remained on the ground. Chemicals potentially released from this unit include HE and beryllium.

FS-10 is located approximately 1,200 ft west of FS-4. The approximate dimensions of this unit are 60 by 80 ft. It is constructed of bare soil, concrete, and asphalt. The unit is bermed on three sides with 10 to 15 ft of soil. The unit receives waste residue from test shots. The larger pieces of waste from the unit are picked up and sent to the Burning Grounds for disposal. Smaller parts remain on the ground. The FS consists of a dirt or gravel surface where test shots are fired. At the center, the area is paved with concrete or asphalt. Since 1953, FS-10 has been used for tests of the hydrodynamic behavior of simulated weapons components in combination with HE. Thorium and depleted uranium were involved in test shots at this site. Chemicals potentially released from this unit include HE and radionuclides.

FS-15 is located approximately 2,200 ft west of North 11th Street and 3,700 ft north of Pantex Drive. Approximate dimensions are 60 by 80 ft. It is constructed of bare soil, concrete, and asphalt. Soil at FS-15 is potentially contaminated with strontium-90 from tests of the bunker in 1958. A tracer of strontium-89, which was potentially heavily contaminated with strontium-90, was used for the test. The level and extent of the remaining contamination are unknown. Chemicals potentially released from this unit include radionuclides.

FS-21 is located approximately 500 ft to the south of FS-15. The approximate dimensions of this unit are 60 by 80 ft. It is constructed of bare soil, concrete, and asphalt. This unit has been operational since the 1950s or 1960s. FS-21 receives waste residue from test shots. The larger pieces of waste from the unit are picked up and sent to the Burning Grounds for disposal. Smaller parts remain on the ground. FS-21 consists of a dirt or gravel surface where test shots are fired. At the center, the area is paved with concrete or asphalt. Darkroom activities occur at FS-21. These waste streams were disposed into each facility's drain system. Chemicals potentially released from this unit include HE.

FS-22 is located 945 ft west of FS-5. The approximate dimensions of FS-22 are 60 by 80 ft. The unit is constructed of bare soil, concrete, and asphalt. FS-22 was used for testing HE, and no evidence indicates that any radioactive metals were used in the test shots. It is suspected that soils at this site are contaminated with unknown chemicals and HE residue. This unit has been operational since the 1950s or 1960s. FS-22 is similar to FS-4, -5, and -10, except that the equipment and control room is in an aboveground building. At FS-22, a section of gun barrel used in test firings appears to have leaked. Stained soil and gravel underneath the container was observed during the visual site inspection in March 1989. The section had been moved since the inspection and was located at the southeast corner of the site. Darkroom activities occur at FS-22. These waste streams were disposed directly into each facility's drain system. Chemicals possibly released from this unit include HE and heavy metals.




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