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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

The Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives program reflects on 2009

Jan 13, 2010

By Kristen Szydloski (AMC (ACWA))

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- The Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives program, known as ACWA, achieved many milestones throughout 2009 and continues to progress toward eliminating the chemical weapons stockpile in both Pueblo, Colo., and Blue Grass, Ky.

"The construction teams have been transforming all of the planning and preparation required to build chemical weapons destruction facilities into reality," said ACWA Program Manager, Kevin Flamm.

Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (PCAPP)
Although the "topping off" of the Enhanced Reconfiguration Building was a highlight of the year at PCAPP that signified the final placement of structural steel for the building where explosives will be removed from munitions, construction progress was made on other fronts as well.

Processing equipment was installed in the Agent Processing Building; many new support buildings sprung from the ground; corridors connecting key areas of the plant were built; and an 86-foot air filtration stack that will vent air before being released back into the atmosphere was installed. Testing and validation continues on site-specific equipment, including the Munitions Washout System and Projectile/Mortar Disassembly Unit.

"Pueblo became the first demilitarization site under construction to be awarded Star Status in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) in February," said Flamm.

Star status is designed for exemplary worksites with comprehensive and successful safety and health management systems. According to OSHA, these sites are self-sufficient in their ability to control workplace hazards. Achieving Star Status, ACWA recorded injury and illness rates at or below the national average.

Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (BGCAPP)
The design of the Blue Grass facility reached 97 percent completion, with the remaining design packages to be finished in 2010. For the Munitions Demilitarization Building, where the bulk of destruction operations will take place, an explosive containment area redesign was completed, and in August, the Department of Defense Explosives Safety Board approved construction activities in this section of the building.

"Blue Grass increased its safety record this year to more than 4.3 million job hours without a lost-time injury and is now also applying for VPP status," said Flamm.

Other construction efforts included horizontal concrete placements for the Control and Support Building, Water Storage Tanks and underground utilities, all of which culminated with the site's first vertical construction in September, when structural steel was placed for the Control and Support Building. Additionally, fabrication and testing continued on site-specific equipment, including the Metal Parts Treater and Energetics Batch Hydrolyzer.

"As construction moves ahead, our teams will be focused on the development and testing of the specialized systems and equipment needed in each of the pilot plants, the planning and preparation for systemization activities and the transition into actual destruction operations. Together with the support of Congress and stakeholders at federal, state and local levels, these efforts are bringing us closer every day to our collective goal of safe chemical weapons destruction and have set the stage for a successful 2010," said Flamm.

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