Disposal Options for the Rocket Motors from Nerve
Agent Rockets Stored at Blue Grass Army Depot

 

Committee on Disposal Options for the Rocket Motors of Nerve Agent Rockets at Blue
Grass Army Depot


Board on Army Science and Technology

Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
Washington, D.C.
www.nap.edu



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Disposal Options for the Rocket Motors from Nerve Agent Rockets Stored at Blue Grass Army Depot Committee on Disposal Options for the Rocket Motors of Nerve Agent Rockets at Blue Grass Army Depot Board on Army Science and Technology Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS Washington, D.C. www.nap.edu

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THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001 NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance. This study was supported by Contract/Grant No. W911NF-12-01-0075 between the National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Army. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organizations or agencies that provided support for the project. International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-26045-9 International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-26045-0 Limited copies of this report are available from Additional copies are available from Board on Army Science and Technology The National Academies Press National Research Council 500 Fifth Street, NW, Keck 360 500 Fifth Street, NW, Keck 940 Washington, DC 20001 Washington, DC 20001 (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3118 (202) 334-3313 http://www.nap.edu Copyright 2012 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America ii

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The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences. The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Charles M. Vest is president of the National Academy of Engineering. The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V. Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine. The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy's purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. Charles M. Vest are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council. www.national-academies.org iii

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COMMITTEE ON DISPOSAL OPTIONS FOR THE ROCKET MOTORS OF NERVE AGENT ROCKETS AT BLUE GRASS ARMY DEPOT RANDAL J. KELLER, Chair, Murray State University, Murray, Kentucky JUDITH BRADBURY, Consultant, Knoxville, Tennessee RANDALL J. CRAMER, Navy Ordnance Environmental Support, Indian Head, Maryland ERIC D. ERICKSON, Naval Air Warfare Center, China Lake, California BRAD E. FORCH, U.S. Army Research Laboratory, Research, Development and Engineering Command, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland SCOTT E. MEYER, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana BOBBY L. WILSON, Texas Southern University, Houston, Texas Staff BRUCE BRAUN, Director, Board on Army Science and Technology JAMES C. MYSKA, Senior Research Associate, Study Director DEANNA SPARGER, Program Administrative Coordinator iv

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BOARD ON ARMY SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY ALAN H. EPSTEIN, Chair, Pratt & Whitney, East Hartford, Connecticut DAVID M. MADDOX, Vice Chair, Independent Consultant, Arlington, Virginia DUANE ADAMS, Independent Consultant, Arlington, Virginia ILESANMI ADESIDA, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign MARY E. BOYCE, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge EDWARD C. BRADY, Strategic Perspectives, Inc., Fort Lauderdale, Florida W. PETER CHERRY, Independent Consultant, Ann Arbor, Michigan EARL H. DOWELL, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina JULIA D. ERDLEY, Pennsylvania State University, State College LESTER A. FOSTER, Electronic Warfare Associates, Herndon, Virginia JAMES A. FREEBERSYSER, BBN Technology, St. Louis Park, Minnesota RONALD P. FUCHS, Independent Consultant, Seattle, Washington W. HARVEY GRAY, Independent Consultant, Oak Ridge, Tennessee JOHN J. HAMMOND, Lockheed Martin Corporation (retired), Fairfax, Virginia RANDALL W. HILL, JR., University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies, Playa Vista JOHN W. HUTCHINSON, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts MARY JANE IRWIN, Pennsylvania State University, University Park ROBIN L. KEESEE, Independent Consultant, Fairfax, Virginia ELLIOT D. KIEFF, Channing Laboratory, Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts WILLIAM L. MELVIN, Georgia Tech Research Institute, Smyrna ROBIN MURPHY, Texas A&M University, College Station SCOTT PARAZYNSKI, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston RICHARD R. PAUL, Independent Consultant, Bellevue, Washington JEAN D. REED, Independent Consultant, Arlington, Virginia LEON E. SALOMON, Independent Consultant, Gulfport, Florida JONATHAN M. SMITH, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia MARK J.T. SMITH, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana MICHAEL A. STROSCIO, University of Illinois, Chicago DAVID A. TIRRELL, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena JOSEPH YAKOVAC, JVM LLC, Hampton, Virginia Staff BRUCE A. BRAUN, Director CHRIS JONES, Financial Associate DEANNA P. SPARGER, Program Administrative Coordinator v

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Preface The Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (BGCAPP), under the management of the Program Executive Officer for Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives (PEO ACWA), is responsible for destroying the chemical weapons stockpiles currently being stored at the Blue Grass Army Depot (BGAD) and the Pueblo Chemical Depot. The BGAD stockpile consists of 523 tons of mustard agent loaded in projectiles and nerve agents GB and VX loaded in both projectiles and rockets. The rocket portion of the stockpile at BGAD consists of approximately 70,000 M55 rockets. BGCAPP will destroy the M55 rockets in a process where the first step will be to cut the rocket and separate it into the rocket warhead and the rocket motor. The rocket warhead will be destroyed at BGCAPP by chemical neutralization followed by supercritical water oxidation. Although the BGCAPP facility will have the capability for destroying an entire M55 rocket, owing to a design change in the mid-2000s the separated rocket motors will be disposed of at a place other than BGCAPP. Disposing of the separated rocket motors outside of BGCAPP presents some unique safety and environmental challenges, so the PEO ACWA asked the National Research Council (NRC) to conduct a study to offer guidance on technologies and options for the disposal of the separated rocket motors. The committee that was assembled by the NRC held a number of meetings, a virtual meeting, and teleconferences. It also visited the BGCAPP project offices in Richmond, Kentucky. The focus of this report is on the potential sites and technologies that might be used to dispose of the separated rocket motors outside of BGCAPP. These options include treatment and disposal on-site at BGAD or off-site at a commercial or governmental facility. Potential technologies, primarily thermal and chemical, that could be used to dispose of the separated rocket motors are discussed. The report also addresses safety, storage, throughput, and transportation. As chair of this committee, I want to express my sincere thanks to the members of the committee for their work on this report. Their expertise in energetics as well as their experience with the safe disposal of conventional munitions was invaluable in addressing the statement of task. I would also like to thank James Myska, senior research associate at the Board on Army Science and Technology, and Bruce Braun, director of the Board on Army Science and Technology, for their contributions in running this study. Mr. Myska did an outstanding job on this project. He mastered the subject matter, kept the committee vii

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focused on the statement of task, and ensured that the writing was concise and accomplished in a timely manner. Lastly, I want to thank Deanna Sparger for her invaluable administrative and research support to the committee. Randal J. Keller, Chair Committee on Disposal Options for the Rocket Motors of Nerve Agent Rockets at Blue Grass Army Depot viii

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Acknowledgments This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council's (NRC's) Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Ruth Doherty, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Rebecca Haffenden, Argonne National Laboratory, Jeffrey L. Lee, U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, Hyla Napadensky, Independent Consultant, James Neidert, U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Development and Engineering Center, Carol A. Palmiotto, E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company, Stanley Sandler (NAE), University of Delaware, Leonard Siegel, Center for Public Environmental Oversight, and Stefan Thynell, Pennsylvania State University. Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Royce W. Murray (NAS). Appointed by the National Research Council, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution. ix

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Contents SUMMARY 1 1 INTRODUCTION 7 Statement of Task, 10 The Committee, Report Scope, and Process, 10 Overview of Report, 11 References, 12 2 SAFETY 13 Energetics Safety Issues, 13 Electrical Safety, 17 Lead, 18 References, 18 3 TECHNOLOGIES FOR ROCKET MOTOR DISPOSAL 21 Recycling Options, 21 Overview of Disposal Technologies, 22 Thermal Technologies, 23 Open Thermal Technologies, 23 Open Detonation, 23 Buried Detonation, 24 Open Burning, 24 Open Static Firing, 25 Contained Thermal Technologies, 26 Contained Detonation, 26 Contained Combustion, 26 Contained Static Firing, 27 Confined Combustion, 27 Other Thermal Disposal Technologies, 28 Chemical Technologies, 29 Base Hydrolysis, 29 Supercritical Water Oxidation, 29 Humic Acid Treatment, 30 Summary, 30 References, 38 xi

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4 STORAGE OF SEPARATED ROCKET MOTORS 41 The Need for Storage Space for Separated Rocket Motors, 41 Requirements for Storage of Separated Rocket Motors, 42 Creating Additional Storage Space at the Blue Grass Army Depot, 42 Returning Separated Rocket Motors to the M55 Rocket Storage Igloos, 44 Propellant Degradation, Stabilizer Depletion, and Storage Risk, 44 References, 45 5 OPTIONS FOR DISPOSAL OF SEPARATED ROCKET MOTORS 47 On-site Disposal Options, 47 Open-Burning of Propellant Grain at the BGAD Permitted Facility, 47 Use of the Existing D-100 Detonation Chamber at BGAD, 49 Alternative Disposal Technologies That Could Be Added to BGAD Capabilities, 51 Disposal of Separated Rocket Motors at BGCAPP after Completion of All Chemical Agent Destruction Operations, 52 Public Sentiment, 52 Off-site Disposal Options, 53 Public Sentiment, 55 Shipping and Firing Tube Management, 55 Transportation of Separated Rocket Motors, 57 On-site Transportation of Separated Rocket Motors, 57 Off-site Transportation of Separated Rocket Motors, 58 Advantages and Disadvantages of On-site Separated Rocket Motor Disposal, 60 Advantages and Disadvantages of Off-site Separated Rocket Motor Disposal, 61 References, 62 APPENDIXES A Glossary, 67 B Historical Overview of Public Sentiment Surrounding the Blue Grass Army Depot and Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant Relevant to the Disposal of Separated Rocket Motors, 69 C Committee Activities, 77 D Biographical Sketches of Committee Members, 79 xii

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Tables and Figures TABLES 1-1 Time-Weighted Average Maximum Exposure Limits, 8 2-1 Nominal Composition of M28 Propellant, 14 2-2 Hazard Classifications Applied to Explosive Materials, 14 3-1 Technology Comparison, 32 3-2 Technology Status and Applicability, 37 FIGURES 1-1 Simplified diagram of an M55 rocket in its shipping and firing tube, showing where the tube and rocket will be cut, 8 1-2 Cutaway depiction of an M55 rocket in flight configuration with fins deployed, 8 1-3 Simplified layout of a separated rocket motor showing its major components, 9 4-1 Diagram showing the importance of storage for the disposal of separated rocket motors, 41 xiii

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Abbreviations and Acronyms BGAD Blue Grass Army Depot BGCAPP Blue Grass Chemical Agent Disposal Pilot Plant CAC Citizens' Advisory Commission CDCAB Chemical Destruction Community Advisory Board DAVINCH Detonation of Ammunition in a Vacuum Integrated Chamber DoD Department of Defense EDS explosive destruction system EDT explosive destruction technology EONC enhanced on-site container EPA Environmental Protection Agency ESD electrostatic discharge GB a nerve agent, also known as sarin GPL general population limit HAWG hazards analysis working group HERO hazards of electromagnetic radiation to ordnance KAR Kentucky Administrative Rules KDEP Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection KRS Kentucky Revised Statutes MPPEH materials potentially presenting an explosive hazard PCB polychlorinated biphenyl PEO ACWA Program Executive Officer for Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives POP performance oriented packaging RCRA Resource Conservation and Recovery Act SCWO supercritical water oxidation SDC Static Detonation Chamber, manufactured by Dynasafe AB SFT shipping and firing tube SOP standard operating procedure STEL short-term exposure limit TSCA Toxic Substances Control Act VX a nerve agent xiv