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1 Introduction OVERVIEW OF THE CHEMICAL STOCKPILE DISPOSAL PROGRAM For over 50 years, the United States has maintained a stockpile of chemical agents and munitions at eight military depots in the continental United States. Most of the chemical agents and associated munitions were manufactured over 40 years ago. Under a congressional mandate in 1985 (Public Law 99-145), the Army insti- tuted a program to destroy M55 rockets. This original program was extended in 1992 and became the Chemi- cal Stockpile Disposal Program (CSDP) when Con- gress enacted Public Law 102-484, which required de- struction of the entire stockpile. The Army, through its office of the Program Man- ager for Chemical Demilitarization (PMCD), is respon- sible for the design, construction, operation, and clo- sure of the disposal facilities constructed at each storage site. Separately, the U.S. Army Soldier and Biological Chemical Command (SBCCOM) is respon- sible for the security and monitoring of the agents and munitions while they are in storage and until they are delivered to the disposal facilities.2 iThe agent and munitions at a ninth site, Johnston Island, which is in the Pacific Ocean about 800 miles southwest of Hawaii, were destroyed during a decade of disposal operations that concluded in November 2000. 2As this report was being prepared, the functions of SBCCOM and PMCD pertaining to storage and disposal of the stockpile, re- spectively, were being integrated into a new Army organization known as the Chemical Materials Agency. PMCD has over 17 years of operating experience with disposal facilities at two locations, the Johnston Atoll Chemical Agent Disposal System (JACADS) on Johnston Island and the Tooele Chemical Agent Dis- posal Facility (TOCDF) at Deseret Chemical Depot (DCD) in Tooele, Utah.3 By the beginning of 2003, TOCDF had destroyed approximately 45 percent of the agent stored at DCD, including, by March 2002, all the munitions and containers filled with satin (GB). The incineration facility at Anniston, Alabama, has just be- gun disposal operations. Disposal facilities are being constructed at four other sites: Aberdeen, Maryland; Newport, Indiana; Pine Bluff, Arkansas; and Umatilla, Oregon. Facilities are in the planning stage for the re- maining two sites: Blue Grass, Kentucky, and Pueblo, Colorado. The chemical weapons stockpile contains two types of chemical agents: (1) cholinesterase-inhibiting nerve agents (GB and VX) and (2) blister agents, primarily various forms of mustard agent (H. HD, and HT). Both mustard and nerve agents are frequently, but errone- ously, referred to as gases, although they are liquids at room temperatures and at normal pressures. The stock- pile contains bulk (ton) containers of nerve and mus- tard agents; agent-filled munitions, including rockets, mines, bombs, and projectiles; and spray tanks. Many 3The database of leaking munitions discussed in detail in Chap- ter 3 uses the acronym DCD interchangeably with TOCDF. 3
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4 EFFECTS OF DEGRADED AGENT AND MUNITIONS ANOMALIES ON CHEMICAL STOCKPILE DISPOSAL OPERATIONS munitions contain both agent and energetic materials (propellants and/or explosives). PMCD is responsible for operations of chemical agent disposal facilities but, as noted previously, it does not have responsibility for the chemical munitions or containers until they are delivered to a disposal facil- ity. The munitions and containers are stored in igloos (concrete bunkers covered with earth) and at other lo- cations on the depots and are under the control of SBCCOM. The age of the munitions and containers, as well as other factors, has contributed to the develop- ment of leaks and other anomalies, which are described in Chapter 2. Leakers (containers or munitions that leak) can result from manufacturing defects such as improper welds or construction materials. Chemical attack on the containment material is also a factor, the details of which are presented in Chapter 2. The energetics in chemical munitions are standard, stable materials that do not degrade over the antici- pated time period of storage. In some cases, particu- larly in M55 rockets, energetics can react with agent to form sensitive compounds. Only propellants have the potential to become more hazardous (less stable) with age even if there is no agent leaking into the propellant. Thus, tests are routinely performed to track propellant stability. Three types of chemical agent munitions that include propellants are 105-mm projectiles, 4.2-inch mortar rounds, and M55 rockets (U.S. Army, 1991~. In 1996, the Army reported that energetics are stable un- der storage conditions and that the risk of munitions exploding in a storage igloo is less than 10-8 (one in 100 million) (U.S. Army, 1996a). PURPOSE OF THE REPORT The purpose of this report is to examine the effects of leaks and other anomalies on the operation of chemi- cal agent disposal facilities. The Stockpile Committee (1) evaluated the history of munitions and containers that were or will be delivered to chemical agent dis- posal facilities; (2) reviewed and evaluated leak detec- tion and reduction activities at the storage facilities; (3) reviewed and evaluated unusual occurrences result- ing from the delivery of atypical (i.e., anomalous) mu- nitions and containers to disposal facilities, including a review of corrective actions taken and effects on dis- posal operations; (4) evaluated and reviewed the im- plications of atypical agents and munitions on risks to workers at the disposal facilities; and (5) assessed pro- grammatic impacts of these atypical munitions, includ- ing the perceptions of stakeholders (see statement of task, in the Preface). Over the years and using a variety of protocols, the Army has accumulated quantitative data on the leaking munitions in storage at each site. These data are the best quantitative indicator of one type of challenge, leakers, faced by disposal facilities. They have been analyzed for munitions management purposes by two organizations within the Army and were further ana- lyzed by the Stockpile Committee for this report. The committee also recognizes that besides leaking muni- tions, other types of anomalous munitions are being delivered to disposal facilities (e.g., overpacked leakers and gelled mustard munitions). However, only anec- dotal information is available on the effects of these other anomalous munitions on disposal operations. While such anecdotal information is extensive, it is not amenable to either historical evaluation or quantitative analysis. Anomalies other than leakers are also dis- cussed later in the report, primarily in Chapter 4. This report presents a historical perspective of the Army's experience in tracking and handling anoma- lous munitions. Data collection and data analyses by the Army and the Stockpile Committee are de- scribed, followed by a discussion of what the analy- ses show and which kinds of further analysis could prove useful. In Chapter 2, the various causes of degradation lead- ing to the presence of anomalous munitions are dis- cussed. Particular attention is paid to the chemical deg- radation of nerve agent GB. The munitions most prone to leakage are M55 rockets containing GB. Of particu- lar concern are the chemical reactions and kinetics that lead to by-products that corrode the rockets, causing leaks. Data on leakers are presented and summarized in Chapter 3; they may be different, depending on the pro- tocols used for monitoring. These protocols varied over time, depending on the needs of the Army. The chapter discusses modifications and additions to the database to make it more amenable to statistical analysis. The statistical analysis program and the results of the analy- ses are also presented in Chapter 3. The analysis of the data presented in Chapter 3 pro- vides a basis for discussing the effects of processing leaking munitions. The effect of other anomalies, to- gether with an analysis of the risks associated with them, is presented in Chapter 4. Finally, the report presents the committee's findings and recommendations in Chapter 5.
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