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Introduction

BACKGROUND

In 1996 Congress enacted two laws, Public Law 104– 201 (authorization) and Public Law 104–208 (appropriation), mandating that the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) assess technology alternatives for the baseline incineration process for the demilitarization of assembled chemical weapons and conduct demonstration tests of at least two of them. The laws included the following stipulations:

  • All funds for the construction of baseline incineration facilities at the Blue Grass Army Depot in Richmond, Kentucky, and Pueblo Chemical Depot in Pueblo, Colorado, should be frozen until the effectiveness of alternative technologies and their ability to comply with safety and environmental requirements were reported to Congress.

  • DoD should select a program manager who was not and had never been associated with the baseline incineration program.

  • DoD should “coordinate” its activities with the National Research Council (NRC).

In December 1996, DoD appointed the deputy to the commander of the Soldier and Biological Chemical Command to be the program manager for the Assembled Chemical Weapons Assessment (PMACWA). On July 28, 1997, after organizing a staff and establishing a program plan, the PMACWA published a request for proposals (RFP) for a total system solution for the destruction of assembled chemical weapons without using incineration. Twelve proposals were submitted in September 1997. Of these, seven passed the threshold requirements stipulated in the RFP. These seven technologies are summarized in Table 1–1. One of the seven was rejected during the next phase of the selection process. On July 29, 1998, after an elaborate multitiered selection process, three of the remaining six technology packages were selected for demonstration testing (Burns and Roe, 1999; General Atomics, 1999; and Parsons-Allied Signal, 1999). Detailed descriptions of the selection process and of all seven technologies are available in the PMACWA’s two annual reports to Congress (DoD, 1997, 1998).

Under both time and budget constraints, the PMACWA decided to focus the demonstration tests on the unit operations in each technology package that were “most critical and least proven,” that is, operations that had not been previously used in the disposal of chemical munitions and/or had not been integrated into a complete system for this application. Systemization (preoperational testing) for the unit operations to be tested was conducted from January to March 1999. The demonstration tests were conducted from March to May 1999. On June 30, 1999, reports from the demonstration tests were submitted to the PMACWA by the technology providers. These reports were used to prepare the Supplemental Report to Congress that was submitted on September 30, 1999 (DoD, 1999). In 1999, Congress passed Public Law 105–261 (1999) mandating that:

The program manager for the Assembled Chemical Weapons Assessment shall continue to manage the development and testing (including demonstration and pilot-scale testing) of technologies for the destruction of lethal chemical munitions that are potential or demonstrated alternatives to the baseline incineration program. In performing such management, the program manager shall act independently of the program manager for Chemical Demilitarization and shall report to the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology.

It also directed the Army to continue coordination with the NRC. In response, the PMACWA authorized engineering design studies for the two technologies that successfully completed demonstration testing, the Parsons/Honeywell technology package (hydrolysis followed by biotreatment) and the General Atomics technology package (hydrolysis followed by supercritical water oxidation (SCWO)). The engineering design studies (EDSs) for both Parsons/



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Evaluation of Demonstration Test Results of Alternative Technologies for Demilitarization of Assembled Chemical Weapons: A Supplemental Review for Demonstration II 1 Introduction BACKGROUND In 1996 Congress enacted two laws, Public Law 104– 201 (authorization) and Public Law 104–208 (appropriation), mandating that the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) assess technology alternatives for the baseline incineration process for the demilitarization of assembled chemical weapons and conduct demonstration tests of at least two of them. The laws included the following stipulations: All funds for the construction of baseline incineration facilities at the Blue Grass Army Depot in Richmond, Kentucky, and Pueblo Chemical Depot in Pueblo, Colorado, should be frozen until the effectiveness of alternative technologies and their ability to comply with safety and environmental requirements were reported to Congress. DoD should select a program manager who was not and had never been associated with the baseline incineration program. DoD should “coordinate” its activities with the National Research Council (NRC). In December 1996, DoD appointed the deputy to the commander of the Soldier and Biological Chemical Command to be the program manager for the Assembled Chemical Weapons Assessment (PMACWA). On July 28, 1997, after organizing a staff and establishing a program plan, the PMACWA published a request for proposals (RFP) for a total system solution for the destruction of assembled chemical weapons without using incineration. Twelve proposals were submitted in September 1997. Of these, seven passed the threshold requirements stipulated in the RFP. These seven technologies are summarized in Table 1–1. One of the seven was rejected during the next phase of the selection process. On July 29, 1998, after an elaborate multitiered selection process, three of the remaining six technology packages were selected for demonstration testing (Burns and Roe, 1999; General Atomics, 1999; and Parsons-Allied Signal, 1999). Detailed descriptions of the selection process and of all seven technologies are available in the PMACWA’s two annual reports to Congress (DoD, 1997, 1998). Under both time and budget constraints, the PMACWA decided to focus the demonstration tests on the unit operations in each technology package that were “most critical and least proven,” that is, operations that had not been previously used in the disposal of chemical munitions and/or had not been integrated into a complete system for this application. Systemization (preoperational testing) for the unit operations to be tested was conducted from January to March 1999. The demonstration tests were conducted from March to May 1999. On June 30, 1999, reports from the demonstration tests were submitted to the PMACWA by the technology providers. These reports were used to prepare the Supplemental Report to Congress that was submitted on September 30, 1999 (DoD, 1999). In 1999, Congress passed Public Law 105–261 (1999) mandating that: The program manager for the Assembled Chemical Weapons Assessment shall continue to manage the development and testing (including demonstration and pilot-scale testing) of technologies for the destruction of lethal chemical munitions that are potential or demonstrated alternatives to the baseline incineration program. In performing such management, the program manager shall act independently of the program manager for Chemical Demilitarization and shall report to the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology. It also directed the Army to continue coordination with the NRC. In response, the PMACWA authorized engineering design studies for the two technologies that successfully completed demonstration testing, the Parsons/Honeywell technology package (hydrolysis followed by biotreatment) and the General Atomics technology package (hydrolysis followed by supercritical water oxidation (SCWO)). The engineering design studies (EDSs) for both Parsons/

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Evaluation of Demonstration Test Results of Alternative Technologies for Demilitarization of Assembled Chemical Weapons: A Supplemental Review for Demonstration II TABLE 1–1 Description of the Seven Technology Packages That Passed DoD’s Initial Evaluation Technology Providera Access to Munitions Treatment of Agent Treatment of Energetics Treatment of Metal Parts Treatment of Dunnage AEA Modified reverse assembly (high-pressure wash, new rocket shearing). Electrochemical oxidation using silver ions in nitric acid (SILVER II™). Treated with SILVER II™ process. High-pressure acid wash; thermal treatment to 5X.b Shredded and treated with SILVER II™ process. ARCTECH Modified reverse assembly. Hydrolysis with a-HAX (humic acid and strong base, KOH). Hydrolysis with a-HAX. Hydrolysis with a-HAX; shipped to Rock Island Arsenal for 5X treatment. Hydrolysis with dilute a-HAX; shipped to landfill. Burns and Roe Modified reverse assembly. Plasma arc. Plasma arc. Melted in plasma arc. Shredded; processed in plasma arc. General Atomics Modified reverse assembly; cryofracture for projectiles. Hydrolysis; supercritical water oxidation (SCWO). Hydrolysis, SCWO. Hydrolysis; thermal treatment to 5X. Shredded; destroyed in SCWO. Lockheed Martin (Foster/Eco Logic/Kvaerner) Modified reverse assembly (multiple lines, compact layout, new drain and wash). Hydrolysis; SCWO; Eco Logic gas-phase chemical reduction (GPCR). Hydrolysis, SCWO, GPCR. Hydrolysis; GPCR to 5X. Hydrolysis; GPCR to 5X. Parsons Modified reverse assembly (fluid-jet cutting and energetic washout for rockets). Hydrolysis; biotreatment. Hydrolysis, biotreatment. Thermal treatment to 5X. Thermal treatment to 5X. Teledyne-Commodore Fluid-jet cutting; access and drain agent; wash out energetics with ammonia. Solvated electron process in ammonia for reduction; chemical oxidation with sodium persulfate. Solvated electron process in ammonia for reduction; chemical oxidation with sodium persulfate. Wash in solvated electron solution; oxidation to 3X;c ship to Rock Island Arsenal for 5X treatment. Crushed or shredded; treated in solvated electron solution; shipped to landfill. aAllied Signal was purchased by the Honeywell Corporation. Therefore, Parsons-Allied Signal is referred to as Parsons/Honeywell in this report. Lockheed Martin decided not to continue as technology provider for its process, so this technology development is continuing with Kvaerner John Brown as the integrator. Foster Wheeler is developing the supercritical water oxidation (SCWO) unit and Eli Eco Logic International is developing the Gas-Phase Chemical Reduction unit (GPCR™); all three were originally teamed with Lockheed Martin. bTreatment of solids to a 5X decontamination level is accomplished by holding a material at 1,000°F for 15 minutes. This treatment results in completely decontaminated material that may be released for general use or sold (e.g., as scrap metal) to the general public in accordance with applicable federal, state, and local regulations. cAt the 3X decontamination level, solids are decontaminated to the point that agent concentration in the headspace above the encapsulated solid does not exceed the health-based, 8-hour, time-weighted average limit for worker exposure. The level for mustard agent is 3.0 µg per cubic meter in air. Materials classified as 3X may be handled by qualified plant workers using appropriate procedures but are not releasable to the environment or for general public reuse. In specific cases in which approval has been granted, a 3X material may be shipped to an approved hazardous waste treatment facility for disposal in a landfill or for further treatment. Honeywell and General Atomics were configured for use at the Pueblo Army Depot in Pueblo, Colorado (EDS I). However, only the engineering design study for General Atomics (EDS II) will be considered for use at the Blue Grass Army Depot in Richmond, Kentucky. The purpose of the EDSs was to (1) support the certification decision of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Technology, as directed by Public Law 105–261; (2) support the development of an RFP for a pilot facility; and (3) support the required documentation for the National Environmental Policy Act and the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) permit application. Each EDS required an engineering design package (EDP) and tests to generate data that had not been obtained during the demonstration test phase. In 2000, Congress passed Public Law 106–79 mandating that the PMACWA conduct evaluations of [the] three additional alternative technologies under the ACWA program, …proceed under the same guidelines as contained in Public Law 104–208 and

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Evaluation of Demonstration Test Results of Alternative Technologies for Demilitarization of Assembled Chemical Weapons: A Supplemental Review for Demonstration II continue to use the Dialogue process and Citizens’ Advisory Technical Team and their consultants. The PMACWA then initiated a program, commonly referred to as Demo II, to demonstrate the three technologies that had not been selected during the first phase. The Demo II tests were performed between July and September 2000 by three technology providers: (1) AEA Technologies, (2) Foster Wheeler/Eco Logic/Kvaerner, and (3) Teledyne-Commodore. Based on the test results, these technologies could be considered for the destruction of the chemical weapons at the Blue Grass Army Depot and would progress to the engineering design phase.1 ROLE OF THE NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL The PMACWA requested that the NRC independently evaluate alternative technologies and submit a report by September 1, 1999, a month before the Army’s report to Congress was due. After agreeing on a statement of task in March 1997, the NRC formed the Committee on Review and Evaluation of Alternative Technologies for Demilitarization of Assembled Chemical Weapons (the ACWI committee). The study was officially begun on May 27, 1997. The committee evaluated all seven technology packages that had passed the threshold requirements stipulated in the first RFP. As per the statement of task, the committee did not recommend a best technology or compare any of the technologies with the baseline incineration process in use at some storage sites. Members of the committee visited the demonstration sites prior to systerilization of the unit operations in January 1999, but data-gathering activities had to be terminated on March 15, 1999 (before the results of the demonstration tests had been received), to produce a final report by September 1, 1999. The committee’s report was submitted for peer review on May 1, 1999, and released to the sponsor and the public on August 25, 1999 (NRC, 1999). In September 1999, the PMACWA requested that the tenure of the committee be extended to review the results of the demonstration tests (Demo I). The committee was asked to determine if and how the results affected its original findings and recommendations, as well as the suggested steps for implementation (NRC, 1999). In March 2000, the committee published a supplemental report (NRC, 2000) documenting its review of the Demo I test results and the impact of those results on the conclusions of the initial report (NRC, 1999). The committee completed its task at the end of March 2000 and was disbanded. A second NRC committee, the Committee on Review and Evaluation of Alternative Technologies for Demilitarization of Assembled Chemical Weapons: Phase II (the ACW II committee) was formed in the spring of 2000 and asked to produce three reports: (1) an evaluation of the new demonstration tests (Demo II) and their impact on the findings and recommendations presented in the NRC’s ACW I report (NRC, 1999); (2) an evaluation of the EDSs for Pueblo (EDS I); and (3) an evaluation of the EDSs for Blue Grass Depot (EDS II). This report is an evaluation of the Demo II tests and responds to the first task. In addition to evaluating the test results, the committee was asked to update the findings for these technologies in the ACW I committee’s original report (NRC, 1999). STATEMENT OF TASK The complete statement of task for the ACW II committee study is given below. The current supplemental review addresses only Task 1. At the request of the DoD’s Program Manager for Assembled Chemical Weapons Assessment (PMACWA), the NRC Committee on Review and Evaluation of Alternative Technologies for Demilitarization of Assembled Chemical Weapons will provide independent scientific and technical assessment of the Assembled Chemical Weapons Assessment (ACWA) program. This effort will be divided into three tasks. In each case, the NRC was asked to perform a technical assessment that did not include programmatic (cost and schedule) considerations. Task 1 To accomplish the first task, the NRC will review and evaluate the results of demonstrations for three alternative technologies for destruction of assembled chemical weapons located at U.S. chemical weapons storage sites. The alternative technologies to undergo demonstration testing are: the AEA Technologies electrochemical oxidation technology, the Teledyne Commodore solvated electron technology, and the Foster Wheeler and Eco Logic transpiring wall supercritical water oxidation and gas phase chemical reduction technology. The demonstrations will be performed in the June through September 2000 timeframe. Based on receipt of the appropriate information, including: (a) the PMACWA-approved Demonstration Study Plans, (b) the demonstration test reports produced by the ACWA technology providers and the associated required responses of the providers to questions from the PMACWA, and (c) the PMACWA’s demonstration testing results database, the committee will: perform an in-depth review of the data, analyses, and results of the unit operation demonstration tests contained in the above and update as necessary the 1999 NRC report, Review and Evaluation of Alternative Technologies for Demilitarization of Assembled Chemical Weapons (the ACW report) 1   The AEA, Eco Logic, and General Atomics technology packages were chosen by the PMACWA to undergo engineering design studies for the destruction of the assembled chemical weapons at the Blue Grass Army depot. This decision was made by the PMACWA prior to the issuance of this NRC report.

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Evaluation of Demonstration Test Results of Alternative Technologies for Demilitarization of Assembled Chemical Weapons: A Supplemental Review for Demonstration II determine if any of the AEA Technologies, Teledyne Commodore, and Foster Wheeler/Eco Logic technologies have reached a technology readiness level sufficient to proceed with implementation of a pilot-scale program produce a report for delivery to the PMACWA by July 2001 provided the demonstration test reports are made available by November 2000. (An NRC report delivered in March 2000 covered the initial three technologies selected for demonstration phase testing.) Task 2 For the second task, the NRC will assess the ACWA Engineering Design Study (EDS) phase in which General Atomics and Parsons/Honeywell (formerly Parsons/Allied Signal) will conduct test programs to gather the information required for a final engineering design package representing a chemical demilitarization facility at the Pueblo, Colorado, stockpile site. The testing will be completed by September 1, 2000. Based on receipt of the appropriate information, including: (a) the PMACWA-approved EDS Plans, (b) the EDS test reports produced by General Atomics and Parsons/ Honeywell, (c) PMACWA’s EDS testing database, and (d) the vendor-supplied engineering design packages, the committee will: perform an in-depth review of the data, analyses, and results of the EDS tests assess process component designs, integration issues, and overarching technical issues pertaining to the General Atomics and the Parsons/Honeywell engineering design packages for a chemical demilitarization facility design for disposing of mustard-only munitions produce a report for delivery to the PMACWA by March 2001 provided the engineering design packages are received by October 2000 Task 3 For the third task, the NRC will assess the ACWA EDS phase in which General Atomics will conduct test programs to gather the information required for a final engineering design package representing a chemical demilitarization facility at the Lexington/Blue Grass, Kentucky, stockpile site. The testing will be completed by December 31, 2000. Based on receipt of the appropriate information, including: (a) the PMACWA-approved EDS Plans, (b) the EDS test reports produced by General Atomics, (c) PMACWA’s EDS testing database, and (d) the vendor-supplied engineering design package, the committee will: perform an in-depth review of the data, analyses, and results of the EDS tests assess process component designs, integration issues, and overarching technical issues pertaining to the General Atomics engineering design package for a chemical demilitarization facility design for disposing of both nerve and mustard munitions produce a report for delivery to the PMACWA by September 2001 provided the engineering design package is received by January 2001. SCOPE AND APPROACH OF THIS STUDY After reviewing the results of the Demo II tests, the committee reviewed and updated the findings and recommendations from the initial ACW I report, as necessary, and made new findings and recommendations. The committee also reviewed and updated the steps recommended by the ACW I committee that would be necessary before each technology could be implemented. The committee was not requested to review cost, schedules, or public acceptability in this report. In August 2000, the committee began gathering information through briefings by PMACWA staff and representatives of the technology providers, site visits to the facilities where the demonstration tests were being carried out, and attendance at various progress reviews and status updates held by the PMACWA. Draft reports from technology providers on the results of the Demo II tests were made available to the committee on November 17, 2000. The NRC data analysis and report development took place between November 2000 and April 2001. Although the current report is largely based on those data, the final reports from the technology providers were reviewed as they became available to verify that they did not differ from the versions used in writing this report. Appropriate minor changes were made to the draft report as needed. ORGANIZATION OF THIS REPORT Chapter 2 describes AEA SILVER II™ technology (electrochemical oxidation process). Chapter 3 presents the FW/EL/K technology (neutralization followed by transpiringwall supercritical water oxidation and gas-phase chemical reduction). Chapter 4 discusses Teledyne-Commodore’s solvated electron process. For each technology package, the test objectives for unit operations are quoted, the steps for completing the process are reevaluated, the pertinent findings of the ACW I committee are reviewed, and the committee’s evaluations of the Demo II results are presented. Chapter 5 evaluates the impact of the Demo II tests on the general findings and recommendations of the ACW I committee and presents some new general findings and recommendations. The committee’s site visits and meetings are listed in Appendix A, and Appendix B contains biographical sketches of the committee’s members.