to the public sector. The MPT is also intended to treat contaminated secondary waste prior to off-site disposal. The MPT and its off-gas treatment system (OTM) are described in detail in Chapter 2.

The facility contractor is designing, constructing, and testing the MPT as a first-of-a-kind item at the Parsons facility in Kennewick, Washington. A three-quarter-scale version of the MPT, called the TRRP MPT in this report, is being used in the testing at the Parsons facility.

During testing, the TRRP MPT unit experienced recurring operating problems, such as mechanical failures and munitions bodies taking longer than expected to reach the necessary high temperatures as estimated by computer modeling. The program manager for ACWA asked the NRC to initiate a study to evaluate the current design and testing results and to advise on the adequacy of the design and the need for any future testing. The NRC formed the Committee to Review and Assess Developmental Issues Concerning the Metal Parts Treater Design for the Blue Grass Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plant to perform this evaluation. The committee’s statement of task is given in the Preface of this report.


Originally the MPT was planned for use at both BGCAPP and PCAPP to decontaminate metal parts. The current PCAPP design now calls for a munitions treatment unit (MTU) to decontaminate projectile and mortar casings. The MTU is being designed by Abbott Furnace Company, St. Marys, Pennsylvania, a commercial firm that has extensive experience in the construction of high-temperature muffle furnaces for metal annealing and processing. The BGCAPP design still calls for two MPTs.

The committee was tasked with considering the MTU without actually evaluating it. The MTU is being used in the PCAPP design to treat all the projectile bodies. At PCAPP, neutralization followed by bioremediation will be used to destroy the munitions. The munitions will be transported to the explosives containment room, where they are unpacked. The propellant will be removed from the boxed 105-mm projectile cartridges and the boxed 4.2-inch mortar rounds. The 155-mm projectiles will be removed from their pallets. All munitions will be passed through the projectile/mortar disassembly machines. The lifting lugs, fuzes, and bursters are separated from the projectile bodies. These bodies still contain chemical agent sealed in the projectile body by the burster well. Noncontaminated energetics4 will be sent off-site to an existing permitted disposal facility. At each major step in the disassembly process, the rounds will be monitored for agent vapor leaks. Any leakers (contaminated rounds) or munitions that cannot be opened safely (rejects) are placed into overpacks and sent to a unit that will use explosive destruction technology to destroy them without disassembly.

Rounds that do not require treatment in the explosive destruction unit mentioned above will be transported to the agent-processing building, where they enter the MWS. For projectiles, the burster well that seals in the chemical agent will be rammed into the body to gain access to the agent. For mortars, the base plate is cut off. In either case the agent is then drained out and a high-pressure water jet cleans any remaining solids from the body. The empty metal bodies are sent to the MTU, where they are heated to over 1000°F for 15 minutes.

The chemical agent is piped to the agent neutralization system, where it is treated with hot water to neutralize the agent. Caustic is added to raise the pH to 10-12. Biotreatment is selected for treating the agent hydrolysate at PCAPP.


The committee reviewed the design, testing, and thermal modeling of the MPT for BGCAPP. The committee was also briefed on the MTU to enable a comparison of the two units, to determine if any features of the MTU might be applicable at BGCAPP, and to discover whether an MTU could be applicable in the BGCAPP design. Discussions between the committee and the sponsor indicated that the committee was not charged with evaluating the MTU in detail, nor was it asked to consider the relative costs or schedules of the two systems or any issues related to permitting and public involvement.

This report presents a technical evaluation of the MPT and an evaluation of the technical feasibility of replacing the MPT with an MTU and supplemental decontamination units and autoclaves such as those being designed and tested for PCAPP.5 The committee’s task was limited to these two evaluations and precluded any decision to substitute the MTU for the MPT: such a decision can be made only after considering cost, permitting feasibility, and modifications to the design and the building, as well as the technology.

In Chapter 2, the MPT, its off-gas treatment system, and feed streams are described in detail and reviewed. Chapter 3 reviews testing results that have become available in the course of the MPT TRRP 05c tests. Chapter 4 addresses the modeling results and the longer-than-expected heat-up times of munitions casings in the MPT and the effect on the overall throughput rates. Chapter 5 reviews the applicability of the PCAPP MTU at BGCAPP. Finally, Chapter 6 presents the committee’s general conclusions and recommendations.


Noncontaminated energetics are energetics taken from munitions that have had no detectable leak of agent and were not found to be leakers upon accessing the energetics. All energetics from munitions that are leakers are considered to be contaminated.


The supplemental decontamination unit (SDU) and autoclave are both necessary with an MTU to destroy secondary waste.

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