News and Music Discovery
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Senate Committee Backs Chemical Weapons Reclassification Bill

A revision in Kentucky law related to the disposal of mustard and nerve agent munitions at the Blue Grass Army Depot is being sought in Frankfort.  Members of the Senate Natural Resources and Energy Committee unanimously approved the reclassification of secondary waste Wednesday.

Chemical Weapons Program Director Craig Williams says a change is needed to ensure the proper response in case a truck carrying secondary waste has a mishap.  “Where the waste code on the truck is telling me, the responder, that what’s just been spilled is nerve gas,” Williams explained.  “Think about what kind of response I would have to that, instead of having a response to what was just spilled is maybe a high PH water.”

The neutralization of nerve agent is expected to begin in about three years.  John McArthur with contractor Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass says several trucks will be pulling out each day.  “Currently for the main plant we’re looking at about eight 5,000 gallon tankers a day that will be going over the road and that is from the absolute tail end of the serial treatment process,” said McArthur.

When it comes to mustard munition disposal, Todd Williams with Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives says it will likely begin next year.  “The explosive detonation technology, that process for the mustard would start in 2017.  So secondary waste associated with that, which is gonna be your metal byproducts, your ash, would be impacted by this legislation,” said Williams.

Craig Williams, meanwhile, says hopefully the entire disposal process will be completed prior to 2023.

Stu Johnson is a reporter/producer at WEKU in Lexington, Kentucky.
Related Content