contact hazards. Because it is practically insoluble in water, mustard is very persistent in the environment and can contaminate both soils and surfaces for a long time.


The stockpile of unitary chemical agents can be found in containers (various bombs stored without explosives, aerial spray tanks, and ton containers) and munitions (land mines, M55 rockets, artillery projectiles, and mortar projectiles) (Figures 2-1, 2-2, and 2-3). Some munitions have no explosives or propellant, whereas others contain some combination of fuse, booster, burster, and propellant (Table 2-1). Generally, these components are referred to collectively as energetics. They incorporate a variety of chemical compounds that must be eliminated as part of the chemical stockpile disposal operation.

The fuse, a small, highly sensitive explosive element, initiates an explosive chain by detonating a booster. The booster is an intermediate charge, sensitive enough to be detonated by the fuse and energetic enough to detonate the much larger burster. The burster, the end of the chain, bursts the munition with sufficient energy to disperse the agent held in the munition. The M55 rocket also contains an integral solid rocket propellant that can be removed only by cutting open the rocket.4


The unitary chemical stockpile is located at eight continental U.S. storage sites (Figure 2-4) and at Johnston Atoll in the Pacific Ocean, about 700 miles southwest of Hawaii. The nature of the stockpile at each continental U.S. site, by type of container or munition and by type of agent, is delineated in Table 2-2. Each site differs in the amount of metals, explosives, propellants, and agent stored (Table 2-3).


Fuses may contain cyclonite, lead styphnate, lead oxide, barium nitrate, antimony sulfide, tetracine, and potassium chlorate. Bursters may have tetryl, tetrytol (tetryl plus trinitrotoluene [TNT]), or Composition B (cyclonite plus TNT). Propellants may include nitrocellulose, dinitrotoluene, lead stearate, triacetin, dibutylphthalate, and diphenylamine.

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