A Bechtel-led team has started destroying GB nerve agent rockets at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (BGCAPP), near Richmond, Kentucky. The M55 rockets are the last weapons to be destroyed at BGCAPP, representing more than 50% of the original Kentucky stockpile.
Destruction of the rockets is another step in the effort for the U.S. to eliminate all chemical weapons by September 30, 2023, meeting an international treaty commitment for the country.
Just three months ago the Blue Grass team completed the destruction of more than 17,000 rockets containing VX nerve agent, the fourth campaign completed at BGCAPP. A “campaign” refers to destruction of a particular type of chemical munition.
“Our constant theme throughout every campaign has been ‘safety’ and it will remain our theme as we destroy rockets containing GB nerve agent,” said Ron Hink, project manager. “Our Blue Grass team is ready to finish our mission of destroying every chemical weapon stored in Kentucky.”
The chemical weapons stockpile in Kentucky originally consisted of 523 U.S. tons of chemical agent configured in 155mm projectiles containing mustard and VX nerve agent, 8-inch projectiles containing GB nerve agent, and M55 rockets containing GB and VX nerve agent.
The mustard destruction was completed in September 2021. GB nerve agent in 8-inch projectiles was destroyed in 2020 while VX nerve agent in projectiles was destroyed in 2021.