THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES
Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine
Board on Army Science and Technology
500 Fifth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001
July 27, 2006
Mr. Michael A. Parker
Chemical Materials Agency
5183 Blackhawk Road
Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD 21010-5424
Re: Review and Assessment of the Proposals for Design and Operation of Designated Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plants (DCAPP–Blue Grass II)
Dear Mr. Parker:
As requested by the Program Manager, Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives (PMACWA), the National Research Council (NRC) of the National Academies established two committees to review and assess proposals related to two different chemical agent destruction pilot plants (see Attachment A for the statement of task). This committee, the Committee to Review and Assess the Proposals for Design and Operation of Designated Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plants (DCAPP–Blue Grass), has provided a letter report on the intermediate design for the supercritical water oxidation (SCWO) process at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plant (BGCAPP) in Richmond, Kentucky. The PMACWA asked for that evaluation first because the contractor had completed the SCWO redesign before the remainder of the BGCAPP redesign was ready. The second committee has addressed the modified design of the Pueblo Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plant in Pueblo, Colorado. This letter now transmits the third and final letter report, also produced by the DCAPP–Blue Grass Committee. In this report, the committee provides its assessment of the full intermediate design of the BGCAPP, less the supercritical water oxidation process that had been previously reviewed.
This study was initiated on June 5, 2006, and had to be completed within 60 days to support the sponsor’s accelerated Defense Acquisition Board process. In view of the short study schedule and the detailed nature of the task, the NRC selected committee members with extensive past experience in the destruction of chemical weapons. The DCAPP–Blue Grass Committee (see Attachment B for committee composition and expertise) has reviewed and assessed the proposal submitted by the Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass Team (BPBGT) for the design and operation of BGCAPP (see Attachment C for references). The committee’s findings
are summarized in this letter. Attachment D contains the full assessment, which is not accessible to the public under the provisions of Subsection 15(b)(3) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, 5 U.S.C. App., as amended by the Federal Advisory Committee Act Amendments of 1997, P.L. 105-153, December 17, 1997, 111 Stat. 2689. The NRC has determined that release of this information to the public would disclose information described in 5 U.S.C. 552(b). Attachment E acknowledges the contributions of the reviewers.
In 2003, the Army issued a request for proposal to design, build, operate, and close a full-scale pilot plant facility for the destruction of chemical weapons at the Blue Grass Army Depot (BGAD). A system contract was awarded to the BPBGT, a joint venture formed by Bechtel Corporation and Parsons Corporation. The teaming subcontractors are Battelle, General Physics Corporation, General Atomics Advanced Process Systems, and the Washington Demilitarization Company. Because the life-cycle cost estimate was high, several efforts were made to identify alternative design configurations and life-cycle cost options that would reduce the costs of the Blue Grass facility. Thus, the contractor has proposed a modified design to comply with the Department of Defense’s instructions. This letter report focuses on the technical aspects, maturity, and schedule of the proposed design for BGCAPP, excluding the supercritical water oxidation system. The Defense Acquisition Board will consider and decide on the overall design in August.
The munitions stored at BGAD contain either the nerve agents GB (C4H10FO2P) or VX (C11H26NO2PS) or Levinstein mustard agent (H) (C4H8Cl2S). After removal from the weapons, the chemical agents and the energetic materials will be destroyed by neutralization (hydrolysis)1 with a hot caustic (NaOH) solution for GB, VX, and the energetics and hot water for H. All of these reactions produce a multicomponent waste stream, called hydrolysate, which remains a hazardous material that must undergo further treatment prior to being released into the environment. The BPBGT design proposes treating the agent and energetic hydrolysate by supercritical water oxidation. A block diagram of the entire BGCAPP design is shown in Figure 1-1.
SCOPE AND METHODOLOGY
The committee was directed to assess the technical feasibility of the BGCAPP design configuration, its maturity, and its ability to meet the proposed schedule to allow the Army to complete the demilitarization of chemical agents.
The committee received, reviewed, and assessed numerous documents and their supporting material. These documents are exempt from public disclosure under Subsection 15(b)(3) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, 5 U.S.C. App., as cited on page 2. Documents reviewed include, but are not limited to, the following:
Fourteen system design descriptions
One throughput, availability, and analysis document
Nine specification documents
Forty-five process flow diagrams
Two engineering reports
One basis of design document
One civil site plan drawing
Four issues lists documents
Fourteen 3D renderings
Nineteen Technical Risk Reduction Program test protocols, plans, or reports
Twelve safety documentseleven preliminary hazards analysis documents and one hazard tracking log document
One architectural equipment drawing
Munitions demilitarization building intermediate design review briefings
One design considerations executive summary report
One committee meeting was held, on June 5-7, 2006, during which oral presentations by the PMACA and BGBPT, the system contractor, were heard and considerable discussion took place between the committee and the subject-matter experts. Follow-on exchanges with the contractor took place electronically in response to additional questions from the committee.
The committee’s evaluation is based on all the design and testing results that were presented and is focused mostly on the modifications in the BGCAPP redesign. A prior NRC committee had already evaluated the original design for BGCAPP (NRC, 2005). The committee members’ judgments were based on their combined experience and expertise in chemical processing, energetics, and risk assessment and safety.2
In this regard, the committee focused on the following topics:
Rockets: motor separation, agent and energetics access
Rocket shear machine
Projectiles: agent and energetics access
Secondary waste treatment
Materials of construction
Availability and schedule
Explosive destruction technology option
FINDINGS AND A RECOMMENDATION
These general findings and the recommendation represent the assessments of the committee regarding the design proposal. The supporting narrative for these findings is given in Attachment D of the report.
Finding 1. The committee cannot consider the design presented to it to be mature. The committee is concerned about the number of design decisions that are still to be finalized for the Blue Grass Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plant.
Finding 2. The effort made to redesign the Blue Grass Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plant has resulted in a potentially effective design provided that adequate and representative testing and development are performed prior to use. The technical risk will be reduced to an acceptable level provided satisfactory performance is demonstrated by the test programs.
Finding 3. Given the number of assumptions employed and the lack of maturity in the design, the committee cannot state whether the proposed schedule is realistic.
Recommendation 1. To lower the technical risk and to increase the maturity of the systems, all first-of-a-kind equipment should be assembled and fully tested under realistic conditions prior to systemization.
Statement of Task
Contractual Statement of Task
The NRC will establish an ad hoc Committee to Review and Assess the Proposals for Design and Operation of Designated Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plants (DCAPP Committee). This new committee will receive, review, and assess the proposals submitted by the Bechtel National, Inc. for the Pueblo Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plant in Pueblo, Colorado, and the Blue Grass Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plant in Richmond, Kentucky, to consider the technical aspects of systems configurations, maturity, and schedule. The committee will provide a review to the Army of these proposals to advise them in their procurement decisions regarding award of the task order.
Plan of Action
To accomplish the statement of task, the NRC formed two separate committees to review the proposals for the chemical destruction plants at the Blue Grass Army Depot, Kentucky, and at Pueblo Army Depot, Colorado. The first committee’s first task was to review the supercritical water oxidation process at Blue Grass and report on that review. The committee was then augmented to carry out its second task, which was to review the remainder of the Blue Grass plant design and prepare this second letter report. A separate committee was created to review the Pueblo plant design, and that committee has provided its assessment in still another letter report.
Roster and Biographies
ROBERT A. BEAUDET, Chair, University of Southern California, Los Angeles
JOAN B. BERKOWITZ, Farkas Berkowitz & Company, Washington, D.C.
RUTH M. DOHERTY, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head, Maryland
LAWRENCE E. EISELSTEIN, Exponent Failure Analysis Associates, Menlo Park, California
WILLARD C. GEKLER, Consultant, PLG, Inc., Los Alamitos, California
MARTIN GOLLIN, Carmagen Engineering, Inc., St. Davids, Pennsylvania
BRUCE A. BRAUN, Director, Board on Army Science and Technology
MARGARET N. NOVACK, Study Director
HARRISON T. PANNELLA, Senior Program Officer
DETRA BODRICK-SHORTER, Administrative Coordinator
NIA D. JOHNSON, Research Associate
JAMES C. MYSKA, Research Associate
LaVONNE WILLIS, Senior Program Assistant
Robert A. Beaudet received his Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Harvard University in 1962. From 1961 to 1962, he was a U.S. Army officer and served at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory as a research scientist. He joined the faculty of the University of Southern California in 1962 and has served continuously in the Department of Chemistry since that time. He also has served on Department of Defense committees addressing both offensive and defensive considerations surrounding chemical warfare agents. He was chair of an Army Science Board committee that addressed chemical detection and trace gas analysis. He also was the chair of an Air Force technical conference on chemical warfare decontamination and protection. He has participated in two NRC studies on chemical and biological sensor technologies and energetic materials and technologies. Most of his career has been devoted to research in molecular structure and molecular spectroscopy. Currently, Dr. Beaudet is chair of the Committee on Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternative Program. Previously, Dr. Beaudet served as a member of the NRC’s Board on Army Science and Technology (BAST), as a member of the NRC Committee on Review of the Non-Stockpile Chemical Materiel Disposal Program, and as a BAST liaison to the Committee on Review and Evaluation of the Army Chemical Stockpile Disposal Program (Stockpile Committee).
Joan B. Berkowitz is currently managing director of Farkas Berkowitz & Company. She graduated from the University of Illinois with a Ph.D. in physical chemistry. Dr. Berkowitz has extensive experience in the area of environmental and hazardous waste management, a knowledge of the technologies available for the cleanup of contaminated soils and groundwater, and a background in physical and electrochemistry. She has contributed to several of the Environmental Protection Agency studies, been a consultant on remediation techniques, and assessed various destruction technologies. Dr. Berkowitz is the author of numerous publications on hazardous waste treatment and environmental subjects.
Ruth M. Doherty is currently technical advisor for the Research and Technology Department, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Indian Head, Maryland. She received a Ph.D. in physical chemistry from the University of Maryland. Since 1983, she has coauthored almost 60 publications in various subjects in the physical chemistry arena, including the chemistry of underwater explosives. Over the past 6 years, Dr. Doherty has conducted over 30 presentations on various aspects of the science and technology of explosives. She has worked extensively in the research and development of energetics materials and explosives with the Naval Surface Warfare Center for over 15 years. She is a member of the editorial advisory board of the journal Propellants, Explosives and Pyrotechnics.
Lawrence E. Eiselstein currently manages the materials group in Exponent’s Menlo Park, California, office. He received Ph.D. and M.S. degrees in materials science from Stanford University and a B.S. in metallurgical engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute. Dr. Eiselstein specializes in both the mechanical behavior of materials and corrosion science and testing. His research includes design analysis and testing for FDA approval of implantable devices, support for 510k and PMA submissions to FDA, failure modes and effect analysis (FMEA) for medical devices, failure analysis of implantable medical devices, fatigue, hydrostatic extrusion wire, design and fabrication of metal laminates for reactive armor and lightweight armor, and ballistic testing. He has extensive experience dealing with solder joints, welds and brazing, deformation and fracture of materials, the relationship between microstructure and properties, fractography, and failure analysis. Dr. Eiselstein also has expertise in all aspects of corrosion, including corrosion fatigue, environmentally assisted cracking, hydrogen embrittlement, corrosion of bridges, steam turbines, condensers, reactor vessels, pressure vessels, pipes and tubing, wire, tanks, chemical and power plant components, steam generators, oil and gas pipelines, and plumbing and piping.
Willard C. Gekler is currently an independent consultant working for his previous employer, ABS Consulting, Inc. He graduated from the Colorado School of Mines with a B.S. in petroleum refining engineering and pursued graduate study in nuclear engineering at the University of California at Los Angeles. His extensive experience includes membership on NRC’s ACWA committee and on the Mitretek Systems expert panel reviewing the quantitative risk assessments and safety analyses of hazardous materials handling, storage, and waste treatment systems for the Army’s Anniston, Umatilla, Pine Bluff, and Aberdeen chemical agent disposal facilities. He also
participated in a consequence screening assessment for the Newport Chemical Disposal Facility. Previously he was project engineer for various nuclear test facility designs and for development of facility design criteria for the Johnston Atoll chemical agent disposal system. His expertise is in hazard evaluation, quantitative risk analysis, reliability assessment, and database development for risk and reliability. Mr. Gekler is a certified reliability engineer and a member of the Society for Risk Analysis, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), and the American Nuclear Society (ANS).
Martin Gollin is currently a consultant affiliated with Carmagen Engineering, Inc. He graduated from Loughborough University of Technology in England with a B.S. and an M.S. in chemical engineering. He has worked for an engineering contractor (Davy McKee), an R&D company (Dynatech), and an operating company (ARCO Chemical). He has extensive experience in process engineering, capital projects, commissioning, process safety, environmental processes, relief system design, and heat transfer. He has held positions in engineering design and engineering management. He was the EH&S manager for a $1 billion grass-roots project in the Netherlands and was a member of the panel that wrote the CCPS book "LOPA—Layer of Protection Analysis." He is a member of the NRC’s Non-stockpile Committee and has also been a member of several other NAS committees. He consulted on projects for the CDC, petrochemical companies, and pharmaceutical companies and has presented two courses ("LOPA" and "Process Design for Safe Operations") for the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.
BPBGT (Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass Team). 2004. Blue Grass Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plant (BGCAPP) Technical Risk Reduction Project (TRRP) 06, Reactor Material, Rev. 0, April. Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.: Program Manager for Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives.
BPBGT. 2005. BGCAPP Protocol for TRRP #05c, MPT Concept Configuration and Design for Processing Secondary Wastes, Rev. 0, November 8. Richmond, Ky.: Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass Team.
BPBGT. 2006a. Study Report on the Methods for Disposal of Non-Contaminated Rocket Motors, Blue Grass Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plant (BGCAPP) Project, Rev. 0, March 13. Richmond, Ky.: Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass.
BPBGT. 2006b. BGCAPP Protocol for TRRP #15, Rocket Shear Machine (RSM) Exposed Warhead Processing, Rev. 0, May 3. Richmond, Ky.: Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass Team.
BPBGT. 2006c. Throughput and Availability Analysis, Blue Grass Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plant (BGCAPP) Project, Rev. 4, May. Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.: Program Manager for Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives.
DOD (Department of Defense). 2005. Joint Technical Bulletin TB 700-2, Department of Defense Ammunition and Explosives Hazard Classification Procedures. Alexandria, Va.: Department of Defense Explosives Safety Board.
HRI (Hazen Research, Inc.). 2005. Pyrolysis Testing of Secondary Wastes, Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (BGCAPP) Project, Hazen Project 10223. Golden, Colo.: Hazen Research, Inc.
NRC (National Research Council). 1999. Review and Evaluation of Alternative Technologies for Demilitarization of Assembled Chemical Weapons. Washington, D.C.: The National Academy Press.
NRC. 2005. Interim Design Assessment for the Blue Grass Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plant. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press.
NRC. 2006. Review and Assessment of the Proposals for Design and Operation of Designated Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plants (DCAPP-Blue Grass). Letter report. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press.
Rosso, T.E., J.J. Loss, S.D. Norman, P.L. Abercrombie, and A.B. Butrow. 2005. Characterization of Solid and Liquid GB Samples Collected from M55 Rockets Processed at Anniston Chemical Agent Disposal Facility (ANCDF). Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.: Edgewood Chemical Biological Center.
Stone and Webster. 1997. Materials of Construction, VX Corrosion Testing-Final Report, RPX-VX-002-0. Stoughton, Mass.: Stone and Webster, Inc.
Stone and Webster. 2000. Materials of Construction (MOC) Final Report, GA Project 30039. Stoughton, Mass.: Stone and Webster, Inc.
U.S. Army. 2004. Implementation Guidance Policy for Revised Airborne Exposure Limits for GB, GA, GD, GF, VX, H, HD, and HT. June 18. Washington, D.C.: Department of the Army, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Installations and Environment).
Usinowicz, P.J., E.C. Burckle, B.K. Fahey, J.A. Ford, G.D. Lecakes, and R.K. Smith. 2005. Final Report BGCAPP TRRP, #02b Bench-Scale Evaluation of H and HD Hydrolysis, Rev. 0, May 20. Columbus, Ohio: Battelle Memorial Institute.
Weibel, M.A., E.C. Burckle, B.K. Fahey, C.M Fricker, G.D. Lecakes, and T.F. Rusek. 2005. Bench-scale evaluation of GB hydrolysis “TRRP#02a” Phase I, Rev. B, January 28. Columbus, Ohio: Battelle Memorial Institute.
The assessments contained in this attachment are not open to the public under Subsection 15(b)(3) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, 5 U.S.C. App., as amended by the Federal Advisory Committee Act Amendments of 1997, P.L. 105-153, December 17, 1997, 111 Stat. 2689. The National Research Council has determined that to release this information to the public would disclose information described in 5 U.S.C. 552(b).
Acknowledgment of Reviewers
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:
Lawrence B. Evans, NAE, Aspen Technology
L. Louis Hegedus, NAE, Arkema Inc. (retired)
James F. Mathis, NAE, ExxonMobil Corporation (retired)
George W. Parshall, NAS, E.I. Du Pont de Nemours & Company (retired)
Robert B. Puyear, Independent Consultant
Lanny A. Robbins, NAE, Larco Technologies, LLC
W. Leigh Short, Independent Consultant
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 Hyla Napadensky, Napadensky Energetics, Inc., retired. Appointed by the NRC, she 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.