its portion of the SFT will be loaded cut side up into a plywood shipping box designed to hold 30 rocket motors. In this report, the term separated rocket motor will refer to the separated rear section of the M55 rocket (see definition in Appendix A). Figure 1-3 shows a simplified layout of a separated rocket motor. Peak processing rates are projected to be 20 GB-filled or 24 VX-filled M55 rockets per hour; the process will produce like numbers of separated rocket motors each hour.2

The storage boxes containing the separated rocket motors will be placed into an airlock, and the headspace above the motors will be monitored for the presence of any chemical agent above the STEL before being released to the motor packing room and later transportation and disposal. If any agent is detected, the individual separated rocket motors will be manually monitored to determine which ones are contaminated with chemical agent, and entire separated rocket motors that are contaminated will be processed through BGCAPP. This report addresses only separated rocket motors that have been monitored and cleared for disposal either on-site (on BGAD) or off-site (off BGAD). The current plan is to dispose of separated rocket motors outside the BGCAPP facility. The process for clearing the separated rocket motors has yet to be developed and will, of course, need to be negotiated with the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection.

The BGCAPP facility currently under construction will have the capability of demilitarizing and destroying an entire M55 rocket. Indeed, the original design of the facility included the disposal of the entire M55 rocket in the facility with 18 energetic batch hydrolyzers. As part of a cost-reduction initiative, a decision was made to eliminate all but three of the energetic batch hydrolyzers and to dispose of the separated rocket motors outside BGCAPP. The focus of this report is on the potential sites and technologies that might be used to dispose of the separated rocket motors outside BGCAPP. The options include treatment and disposal on-site or off-site at a commercial or government facility.


FIGURE 1-3 Simplified layout of a separated rocket motor showing its major components.

BGCAPP has identified the disposal of the separated rocket motors as a potentially rate-limiting factor that could affect the overall rate of M55 rocket disposal at BGCAPP. The main reason is related to storage space at BGCAPP. BGCAPP will have about 1.25 days worth of storage space in the munitions demilitarization building for


2Ron Hawley, plant general manager, Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass Team, “Rocket Processing,” presentation to the committee, March 20, 2012.

The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001

Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement