incineration. They also share the belief that the Record of Decision,2 which specified neutralization followed by SCWO as the technologies for Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (BGCAPP), represents a “commitment to the community” to use those technologies to dispose of as much material on-site as possible (NRC, 2008).3

In opposing incineration, activist groups established criteria by which they judge alternative technologies for destroying not only chemical weapons but hazardous wastes in general. Among these criteria are:

  • Containment of all by-products,
  • Identification of all by-products,
  • No uncontrolled releases, and
  • A series of criteria pertaining to worker safety (Crowe and Schade, 2002).

In 2006, following the fires experienced during M55 rocket shearing operations at the Umatilla and Pine Bluff Chemical Agent Disposal Facilities, the CDCAB Secondary Waste Working Group met and was briefed by the Non-Contaminated Rocket Motors Integrated Process Team, which presented options on behalf of the Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass Team for the disposal of separated rocket motors.4 Three options were presented:

  • On-site nondeflagration technologies–for example, (1) caustic hydrolysis of the propellant, followed by supercritical water oxidation (SCWO), (2) wet grinding of the propellant followed by SCWO, and (3) caustic hydrolysis of the propellant, followed by biotreatment of the energetics hydrolysates;
  • On-site deflagration technologies–for example, (1) contained static fire, (2) contained burn, and (3) use of a Static Detonation Chamber (SDC)5; and
  • Off-site processes–for example, (1) caustic hydrolysis of the propellant and the off-site disposal of the energetic hydrolysates, (2) wet grind of the propellant, followed by off-site recycling, and (3) incineration.

Among these options, the CDCAB is on record as recommending, in order of preference, the following:

  • On-site caustic hydrolysis of the propellant followed by treatment of the hydrolysates by industrial SCWO and
  • Off-site recycling of the propellant at a government facility (CDCAB, 2006).


2Record of decision, Chemical Stockpile Disposal Project, destruction of the chemical agents and munitions stored at Blue Grass Army Depot, Kentucky, signed by Raymond J. Fatz, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army (Environment, Safety, & Occupational Health), dated February 27, 2003.

3As noted in NRC, 2008, public sentiment is not uniform: the CAC and CDCAB may not represent the totality of public sentiment, and a substantial portion of the community was reported in that study as simply supporting prompt elimination of the chemical agent stockpile.

4The Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass Team is the team of contractors who designed, are building, and will operate, close, and dismantle BGCAPP.

5This technology, from the vendor Dynasafe AB, is discussed in Chapter 3.

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement