Finding 6-3. Existing overpacks for the EDS may require removal and additional handling of the contained munition prior to destruction.

Recommendation 6-2. The Non-Stockpile Chemical Warfare Materiel Project should complete the development and testing of a universal munitions storage container.

Assessment of Recovered Munitions

Before RCWM can be destroyed, an assessment must be carried out on each item to determine the nature of the contained agent and energetics. The noninvasive analytical method used for this purpose is PINS, which is described in Chapter 4. While PINS is an essential tool in the assessment of recovered munitions, it is not totally reliable. For example, during the destruction of 71 recovered munitions at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii in 2008, a 75-mm projectile was mistakenly identified as containing phosgene but actually contained chloropicrin (NRC, 2009a). Another example is at the Spring Valley remediation effort, where, sometime in 2002 or 2003, three munitions were incorrectly identified as containing diphenylcyanoarsine when they actually contained arsine.7

When destroying munitions in an EDS or by another EDT, it is important to know the TNT-equivalent net explosive weight in order to assess the type and quantity of contained energetics.8 The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) project manager at Spring Valley expressed his belief that some of the munitions processed as “explosively configured” at Spring Valley did not, in fact, contain explosives.9 Processing a munition as explosively configured places additional stress on the operators.10 The Spring Valley project manager said that PINS “was not very good” at identifying explosives in recovered munitions and that a better method was needed for this purpose—particularly for small amounts—owing to low sensitivity for nitrogen, a key element in explosive materials.11

After conducting the PINS analysis for fill and explosive content, the Materiel Assessment Review Board (MARB) reviews all available information for each RCWM and presents its assessment. The procedure is complicated and lengthy, and the Camp Sibert project manager said that the results “are often qualified to the extent that regulators cannot be satisfied that an item is, or is not, RCWM, thus limiting the disposal options.”12 The manager also commented that a better tool is needed to determine whether a munition is CWM or not.

The NSCMP has R&D projects under way to address some of these PINS-related issues. These R&D efforts are aimed at generating more definitive analytical results and lowering the detection limit, plus replacing the radioactive neutron source with a neutron generator to facilitate transportation of the PINS equipment.

Finding 6-4. Improvements are needed in the portable isotopic neutron spectroscopy (PINS) data processing to provide more definitive information for the identification of chemical fills in recovered munitions.

Recommendation 6-3. Research and development should continue on the processing of data from portable isotopic neutron spectroscopy to provide more definitive information for the identification of chemical fills in recovered munitions.

As explained in Chapter 4, mixed results were obtained at Camp Sibert when using the Miniature Chemical Agent Monitoring System (MINICAMS) for air monitoring in the area of a detected subsurface object as the object was being investigated and removed. It is expected that a similar experience will be encountered during other remediation efforts. The problems encountered were as follows:

•  As part of the MINICAMS calibration procedure, a midday challenge was used. This procedure can delay field operations a few hours.

•  The MINICAMS is a relatively fragile system, not intended to be moved around on a remediation site, resulting in a significant amount of downtime. A more rugged system is needed.

•  In certain parts of Camp Sibert, the presence of trichloroethylene interfered with determination of mustard by MINICAMS.

Finding 6-5a. The MINICAMS is a fragile system, not sufficiently robust to be moved from site to site. This lengthens downtime.

Finding 6-5b. A more rugged and portable system for near-real-time air monitoring is needed to reduce downtime.

Fewer than 100 munitions have been assessed at Spring Valley and Camp Sibert. Future large remediation projects—for

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7Dan G. Noble, Project Manager, Spring Valley Baltimore District, USACE, personal correspondence to Nancy Schulte, NRC study director, February 3, 2012.

8Dan G. Noble, Project Manager, Spring Valley Baltimore District, USACE, “History of the American University Experiment Station,” presentation to the committee on November 2, 2011.

9Dan G. Noble, Project Manager, Spring Valley Baltimore District, USACE, personal correspondence to Nancy Schulte, NRC study director, February 3, 2012.

10Karl E. Blankenship, FUDS Project Manager, Mobile District, USACE, “Remediation of Contaminated Soil at Camp Sibert, Alabama: The Installation Manager’s Perspective,” presentation to the committee on November 3, 2011.

11Dan G. Noble, Project Manager, Spring Valley Baltimore District, USACE, “History of the American University Experiment Station,” presentation to the committee on November 2, 2011.

12Karl E. Blankenship, FUDS Project Manager, Mobile District, USACE, “Remediation of Contaminated Soil at Camp Sibert, Alabama: The Installation Manager’s Perspective,” presentation to the committee on November 3, 2011.



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