The Department of Defense, through the Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives program, is currently in the process of constructing two full-scale pilot plants at the Pueblo Chemical Depot in Colorado and the Blue Grass Army Depot in Kentucky to destroy the last two remaining inventories of chemical weapons in the U.S. stockpile. These two storage sites together account for about 10 percent of the original U.S. chemical agent stockpile that is in the process of being destroyed in accordance with the international Chemical Weapons Convention treaty. Unlike their predecessors, these facilities will use neutralization technologies to destroy agents contained within rockets, projectiles, and mortar rounds, requiring the use of specially designed equipment.
As part of its focus on safe operation of the planned facilities, the Program Manager for Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives asked the National Research Council (NRC) to conduct a study to offer guidance on the application of process safety metrics at the Pueblo Chemical Depot and Blue Grass Army Depot. Process safety is a disciplined framework for managing the integrity of operating systems, processes and personnel handling hazardous substances, and operations by applying good design principles, engineering, and operating practices. Process Safety Metrics at the Blue Grass and Pueblo Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plants discusses the use of leading and lagging process safety metrics that could provide feedback on the effectiveness of controls to mitigate risks and minimize consequences of potential incidents.
The book makes several recommendations that will facilitate the development and application of process safety metrics at both sites.