Last VX-filled landmine destroyed at Pine Bluff Arsenal
June 24, 2008
<i>Mustard campaign set to begin later this year</i>
PINE BLUFF ARSENAL, Ark. -- The Pine Bluff Chemical Activity and Pine Bluff Chemical Agent Disposal Facility, located at Pine Bluff Arsenal, Ark., have successfully transported and destroyed the last VX nerve-agent filled landmine located at the Arsenal.
PBCA safely transported the last enhanced onsite container carrying VX-filled landmines June 17 to PBCDF. PBCDF destroyed the last VX landmine June 20, and the VX drained from the landmine was destroyed later that day.
Aca,!A"The completion of the VX landmine campaign means the end of all VX-filled munitions stored at Pine Bluff Arsenal,Aca,!A? said Lt. Col. Cliff Johnston, PBCA commander. Aca,!A"The storage risk to the community has been reduced by 99.9 percent.Aca,!A?
The inventory of VX-filled landmines that had been safely stored, transported and eliminated was 9,378, approximately 94,000 pounds of VX nerve agent. The VX landmine campaign was the third of four disposal campaigns at the Arsenal.
Aca,!A"The safe and timely completion of this campaign marks a historic occasion for this community,Aca,!A? said Mark Greer, PBCDF site project manager for the Army. Aca,!A"The entire original inventory of nerve agents at the Arsenal has been eliminated.Aca,!A?
With landmine operations completed, the site enters a changeover period during which the facility will be prepared for and personnel will be trained in the fourth and final operation, disposal of ton container containing the blister agent known as mustard.
Aca,!A"The end of the VX landmines represents another significant milestone for PBCDF and our nation. As we begin changeover we will continue our focus on safety as our employees move forward with the skills and expertise to complete our mission,Aca,!A? said David Reber, project general manager for Washington Defense Group, EG&G Division of the URS Corporation, which built and operates the plant for the Army.
Chemical weapons disposal operations began at the Arsenal in March 2005 with the GB nerve-agent filled rockets. Prior to chemical weapons disposal operations, the Pine Bluff Arsenal safely stored 3,850 tons of chemical agent, 12 percent of the ArmyAca,!a,,cs original chemical weapons stockpile, for more than 60 years.
With the completion of the GB and VX weapons campaigns, PBCDF has eliminated more than one million pounds of chemical agent. The total percentage of chemical agent in the ArsenalAca,!a,,cs original stockpile that has been eliminated is 16 percent.
Aca,!A"This accomplishment reflects the ability of the Pine Bluff team to safely destroy the chemical weapons stockpile while optimizing the schedule and bringing us one step closer to fulfilling our national imperative to eliminate the U.S. chemical weapons stockpile,Aca,!A? said Conrad Whyne, director of the U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency, headquarters for both PBCA and PBCDF.
With the elimination of the VX at PBCDF, CMA has safely destroyed approximately 85 percent of the original VX agent stockpile. Four of the seven remaining storage sites have VX left to destroy.
The M23 VX landmine campaign began May 3 when the landmines were first moved from the PBCA storage area to the disposal facility.
PBA has safely stored its portion of the ArmyAca,!a,,cs original chemical weapons stockpile for more than 60 years.