No single technology, including incineration, can meet all criteria with a single process. The committee recommends further study of four alternative technology combinations for agent destruction, all based upon neutralization of the agent as a first step. In addition, an "enhanced" baseline system is discussed. The issues involving handling of gelled agent as an impediment to all technologies that are designed to transfer or treat liquid materials are discussed after the alternative technologies have been presented.
The section on metals, energetics, and dunnage disposal describes why the committee could not identify feasible alternatives to baseline system for disposal of metal parts, energetics, or dunnage. Consequently, the remainder of the chapter focuses largely on alternative technologies for agent destruction, as have virtually all calls for alternative technologies. Successful alternatives will thus impact disposal operations only as replacement for the liquid incinerator.
All neutralization processes must be followed by secondary treatment to meet both environmental and treaty disposal requirements. This raises the option of transporting the relatively nontoxic neutralized material to another site for secondary treatment. This option may offer economic as well as safety advantages.
The chapter concludes with a section that estimates the time necessary to implement the recommended options.
In Chapter 4, five criteria are listed as the bases for selecting disposal technologies. The first of these, safety, in the form of minimum cumulative total risk to workers, the public, and the environment is the principal criterion. The other four criteria all relate to the technical capabilities of the candidate technologies.
In the absence of detailed quantitative risk assessments of the alternative technologies it is necessary to consider the safety information that is available in some systematic and orderly form. In particular, the following safety factors were considered in reducing the number of potential technologies to those four on which specific findings and recommendations are made.