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Recommendations for the Disposal of Chemical Agents and Munitions
engineering, construction, and successful test demonstration (OVT) of an essentially full-scale pilot plant.
The time and resources required to progress through each of these research and development levels increase substantially at each step. Time estimates for a slightly more complex alternative technology research, development, and demonstration program were developed in the Alternatives report. That report estimated that 9-to-12 years would be required to move from the laboratory to successful demonstration, if each research and development level is carried to completion before starting the next is started.
This time estimate can be reduced by carrying out work on various research and development levels simultaneously. For example, the full-scale demonstration plant could be designed and built while laboratory research and development and small pilot plant work were still under way (at some financial risk, of course).
This telescoping of research and development stages is practiced in the chemical industry and is becoming more common, because of the drive for cost reduction and a more competitive market position. A total time of 3-to-5 years after scientific proof of principle is not uncommon. The committee believes that a well-managed and well-funded program, with a strong staff, can develop and demonstrate the alternative(s) of interest in as little as five to seven years. However, this laboratory-through-demonstration schedule assumes that excessive permitting delays (greater than a two-year permitting cycle) for the demonstration and production plants are not encountered. It is significant that permitting for the JACADS and Tooele facilities has required three years each despite the Army's strong efforts to meet permitting requirements expeditiously.
Given the increased risk of accidental or chronic exposure from storage imposed by delaying the stockpile destruction, it is important that the most promising of the identified potential alternative technologies be advanced past scientific proof-of-principle as soon as possible. A second reason for moving forward promptly is the fact that the third level of research (pilot plant), described earlier, to be conducted at the Chemical Agent Munitions Disposal System (CAMDS), will require the use of a portion of the stockpile currently stored at Tooele. The Tooele baseline disposal system is scheduled to commence operation soon, and the committee does not recommend that complete destruction of the Tooele stockpile be artificially delayed just to preserve feedstock for an alternative technology demonstration plant at CAMDS.