Monday, May 18, 2009

Nerve Gas incineration to continue past 2017

Some cheerful news about the Blue Grass Army Depot in Madison County, from Global Security Newswire:

The U.S. Defense Department yesterday said it would need until 2021 to finish off chemical weapons stored in Kentucky, despite the congressional mandate that operations be finished four years earlier, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported (see GSN, May 8).

The Pentagon last week requested hundreds of millions of dollars in additional funding for the next fiscal year to speed up preparations for demilitarization operations at the Blue Grass Army Depot in Kentucky and the Pueblo Chemical Depot in Colorado. A recent report indicated that military officials would seek $1.2 billion through fiscal 2015 in hopes of finishing work earlier at the two sites (see GSN, May 6).

The chemical neutralization plant now being built at Blue Grass would start destroying the site's chemical-weapon stockpile in 2019 and wrap up the effort in 2021, said Jean Reed, deputy assistant to the defense secretary for biological defense and chemical demilitarization. Operations at the Pueblo Chemical Depot are set to begin in 2014 and last through 2017.

Disposal operations at all other U.S. chemical-weapon storage sites are completed or under way. The Chemical Weapons Convention requires that the arsenal be eliminated by April 2012, but Pentagon officials have acknowledged they cannot meet that deadline.

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