• An employee guides a bulk container, commonly called a ton container, into the demilitarization process. Once placed on the conveyor racks behind the employee, the container will be moved along conveyors to a drain station where it will be punched and drained of its liquid contents.  The liquid will then be destroyed in the liquid incinerator while the metal body will be sent to the metal-parts furnace where the residual agent will be destroyed and the ton container thermally treated for discharge.

    U.S. Army Destroys 50 Percent of U.S. Chemical Agents

    An employee guides a bulk container, commonly called a ton container, into the demilitarization process. Once placed on the conveyor racks behind the employee, the container will be moved along conveyors to a drain station where it will be punched and...

  • A bulk container of mustard agent is loaded on a truck outside a storage igloo as it is prepared for transport to the disposal facility. While marked as "gas," chemical agents are actually liquid in storage. Detonation would render the liquid into gas. 
"

    U.S. Army Destroys 50 Percent of U.S. Chemical Agents

    A bulk container of mustard agent is loaded on a truck outside a storage igloo as it is prepared for transport to the disposal facility. While marked as "gas," chemical agents are actually liquid in storage. Detonation would render the liquid into gas...

  • Demilitarization facilities are complex engineering structures with multiple levels of safety engineered into the design, as demonstrated by this pollution abatement structure surrounding an exhaust stack. 
"

    U.S. Army Destroys 50 Percent of U.S. Chemical Agents

    Demilitarization facilities are complex engineering structures with multiple levels of safety engineered into the design, as demonstrated by this pollution abatement structure surrounding an exhaust stack. "

  • A chemical-weapons-disposal worker gives the thumbs-up sign as he is heat-sealed into his demilitarization-protective ensemble. Use of these suits is routine for maintenance entries into agent-contaminated areas of chemical-demilitarization plants. Despite supplied air, cooling packs and other devices, time in the suits is limited to about two hours.  "

    U.S. Army Destroys 50 Percent of U.S. Chemical Agents

    A chemical-weapons-disposal worker gives the thumbs-up sign as he is heat-sealed into his demilitarization-protective ensemble. Use of these suits is routine for maintenance entries into agent-contaminated areas of chemical-demilitarization plants...

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (Army News Service, Jan. 9, 2008) - As of Dec. 10, the Army has safely destroyed 50 percent of the United States' chemical-agent stockpile since beginning to comply with the Chemical Weapons Convention April 29, 1997.

Officially the "Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling, and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction," the CWC is a treaty among more than 170 nations to ban the development and use of chemical weapons and to destroy existing stockpiles and production facilities in countries that have ratified it.

"Entry into force" is the term used to describe when the signatory nations began complying with CWC provisions. At that point almost 11 years ago, the U.S. stockpile contained approximately 30,000 tons of chemical nerve and blister agents.

The nation's first chemical demilitarization facility, located 800 miles southwest of Hawaii on Johnston Atoll, completed its mission in 2000. The Aberdeen Chemical Agent Disposal Facility in Aberdeen, Md., destroyed another 5 percent of the stockpile in 2006. Both facilities have since closed.

"Reaching the 50 percent agent destruction mark shows that the Army's chemical weapons demilitarization program has truly hit its stride in destroying chemical agent safely and efficiently," said Dale Ormond, acting director of the U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency.

The five remaining CMA chemical destruction facilities are currently operating and are scheduled to destroy more than 78 percent of the U.S. stockpile by 2017. That, added to the chemical agent destroyed at Johnston Atoll and Aberdeen, will bring the total amount of agent destroyed by CMA to 90 percent.

The final 10 percent of the U.S. stockpile will be destroyed by disposal facilities presently under construction in Pueblo, Colo., and near Richmond, Ky., under a separate Department of Defense program.

"The United States has established technological leadership by implementing both incineration and neutralization agent destruction systems, providing the rest of the CWC member nations with a model of safe disposal -- safe for the workers, the public and the environment," said Col. Robert Billington, CMA's project manager for chemical stockpile elimination. "As we share our technologies and lessons learned with other nations, we look forward to a world without chemical weapons."

Page last updated Wed January 9th, 2008 at 10:05