Kentucky Plant completes destruction of mustard-agent chemical weapons
09 September 2021
Bechtel-led team marks milestone toward meeting international treaty obligations
The last of an inventory of projectiles containing mustard agent was destroyed over the weekend by a Bechtel-led team in Kentucky. This marks the third of five chemical weapons destruction campaigns completed at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant, near Richmond, Ky.
Workers safely processed more than 15,000, World War II-era projectiles in a sealed Static Detonation Chamber.
“The safety performance of our team was outstanding throughout the entire campaign,” said Ron Hink, Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass project manager. “Our team faced numerous challenges with the destruction of the mustard projectiles, but we were able to overcome those challenges and safely and successfully complete their destruction.”
As of August 27, 2021, more than 31% of the original 523 tons of chemical agent has been destroyed in Kentucky.
The chemical weapons stockpile originally consisted of 155mm projectiles containing mustard and VX nerve agent, 8-inch projectiles containing GB nerve agent, and M55 rockets containing GB and VX nerve agent.
A munitions handler places a 155mm projectile containing mustard agent into a box to begin the destruction process in the Static Detonation Chamber at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant.
Historic commitment to global security
Since the 1980s, Bechtel has had an active role in U.S. and international efforts to eliminate chemical weapons. With the destruction of the stockpiles underway in Kentucky and a sister plant in Colorado, along with previous projects in Alabama and Maryland, Bechtel will have safely eliminated nearly 5,000 tons of chemical weapons in rockets, artillery rounds, mortar shells, and storage canisters at four of the nine original U.S. storage depots.
The Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant was built and is being operated under contract to the U.S. Department of Defense’s Program Executive Office, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives. Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass is a joint venture of Bechtel National Inc. and Parsons Government Services Inc. The Chemical Weapons Convention commits more than 190 nations to the eradication of chemical weapons. The U.S. government and Bechtel-led team is scheduled to eradicate the Kentucky and Colorado stockpiles by 2023.