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lizbud
08-09-2003, 06:52 PM
U.S. Army Destroys Chemical Weapon Stockpiles In Alabama
Army Distributing Personal Safety Gear To Area Residents

UPDATED: 4:18 p.m. EDT August 9, 2003

ANNISTON, Ala. -- The U.S. Army has begun destroying chemical weapons at an incinerator in Anniston.

The first weapon destroyed was a Cold War-era rocket loaded with enough sarin to wipe out a city.

Workers wearing protective gear loaded the M-55 rocket onto a conveyor belt and sent it into a sealed room. There it was drained of the nerve agent and chopped into eight pieces.

The pieces were fed into an 1,100-degree furnace. The resulting slag will be trucked to a hazardous waste landfill in western Alabama.

The military is handing out protective hoods and other safety gear to many of the 35,000 people who live within nine miles of the incinerator.

Mike Abrams, an incinerator spokesman, says there's no need to put the hoods on. He says it's safer to burn the weapons than to keep them in storage.

Abrams says Anniston is one rocket safer because of Saturday's operation.
Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Lady's Human
08-09-2003, 10:33 PM
Given the fact that there are two choices when dealing with legacy weapons, the destruction route is the most logical. the other choice would be to leave the weapons in place, which would be more hazardous by far. chemical warheads contain agressive chemicals, which eventually eat through their containment vessels. In inspections prior to the destruction of the weapons on Johnston Atoll there were several found to be leaking. I'd rather see them destroyed on site in a controlled process than either left in place to rot or even worse transported somewhere, which would leave too many opportunities to lose control of them.

IttyBittyKitty
08-10-2003, 08:35 AM
Er ... that kind of paraphenalia is, um, ILLEGAL under international law. Isn't it?

Well, it sure would be if Blixy boy had found Sodamn Insane burning it in the fireplace of one of his fifty castles! :D

RubyMutt
08-10-2003, 11:51 AM
I agree with Lady's Human, I definitely think it's a good idea to destroy the weapons rather than leave them stored somewhere.

Washington has a huge 586 square mile area (called Hanford) where parts of the first nuclear bombs were made. It also became a huge nuclear power plant. Now, it is engaged in the world's largest environmental clean-up. It's a little eerie. And it's so disappointing that it's located in such a beautiful part of Washington's wilderness.

lizbud
08-10-2003, 06:57 PM
There's no question that they should be destroyed. The question is method of destruction. Incineration is by far the
most dangerous. There is another way being used at some
sites that are far safer than releasing the toxins into the air.
The Maryland facility, at the Aberdeen Proving Ground, employs a process known as chemical neutralization, which destroys the agents by treating them with water and other chemicals to render them harmless. What I was asking was how would you
feel about methods used if the facility was 30 miles from your
house? I would still be uneasy either way, but think chemical
neutralization would be a lot safer for people & the enviroment.
There's a short article that lists the other chemical weapons
sites around the U.S. and the ways they are dealing with it.

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/text/2001397265_anniston06.html

Lady's Human
08-11-2003, 07:05 AM
Incineration is a tested, proven method of destroying chemical weapons. Thousands of tons of weapons have been disposed of through the years in Utah and on Johnston atoll without incident. The article is inaccurate in stating that Utah is the only other site that uses incineration. Johnston Atoll is not in the continental US, but is a US property.

As far as the question of US posession of chemical weapons, these are legacy weapons left over from WW1 to about 1950 before the chemical weapons ban became international law. New production has been banned by treaty.

lizbud
08-11-2003, 09:46 AM
Lady's human,

Still didn't answer the question. How would you feel if these
chemical weapons were incinerated in your community?

Lady's Human
08-11-2003, 10:36 AM
Knowing what I do about how the military deals with sensitive weapons I would have no problem with it. The controls in place make the chance of a release almost none. The exhaust air leaving the plant goes through granular carbon filtration which would eliminate any chemicals leaving the area. The outcry over this stems from hyperbolic media statements which seek to mobilize people against what is really a non issue, in much the same way nuclear development in the US was stopped in the late 70's after TMI. Three mile Island was a failure in that the plant had an engineering failure. It was a huge success, though, in another realm.....though the plant had a near meltdown, someone living 2 miles away got more radiation exposure from their last dental X ray than they did from the accident.

lizbud
08-11-2003, 02:11 PM
Originally posted by Lady's Human
Knowing what I do about how the military deals with sensitive weapons I would have no problem with it.

Spoken like a true military man. What branch of the service are
you in? How long have you been in service?

p.s. Why is your pup a "lonely pup"?

Lady's Human
08-11-2003, 02:36 PM
Lady's a lonely pup because dad is deployed to FT Drum to help run a mob station and lady's left home with my wife and the human puppy (who lady still doesn't quite know how to deal with)

BTW, my attitude about the weapons incinerator has less to do with the military than with my dealings with OSHA workplace requirements for hazardous chemical handling. If you ever want to sit in a mind numbing class try the 80 hours hazardous materials operations class, or just pick up a copy of the CFR 1910 (Osha regs, it's only about 4000 pages)

I've been in the military a total of 17 years, 6 years on active duty, 11 in the reserves.

Karen
08-16-2003, 01:39 PM
I too would not mind them incinerating them in my town, as long as I was assured proper safeguards were in effect. I echo the sentiment that one incinerated rocket is one rocket less in this world, and a good thing!

In fact, the incinerating of old chemical weapons seems safer than burying chemicals in the ground, or just dumping them somehwre, like various corporations did years ago - thinking of Love Canal, and of Woburn, MA - where the movie "A Civil Action" is from ...

lizbud
08-16-2003, 10:03 PM
Lady's Human,

Did you read this ?

for immediate release: May 5, 2003


ARMY'S UTAH CHEM WEAPONS BURNER SHUTS DOWN - AGAIN: 3RD TIME IN 38 DAYS


Plant Down 40% of Time Since Restarting - After Eight-Month Suspension of Operations

The Army has shut down its chemical weapons incinerator in Tooele, Utah on Saturday-the third time since operations resumed on March 28th. Resumption followed an eight-month suspension of operations after a serious worker exposure incident in July of 2002 forced the plant to close.

During those eight months, at a cost to taxpayers of more than $72 million, the Army claimed to have done an extensive series of safety and technical "corrective actions" and certified that the facility was ready to resume operating. According to an Army press release issued on the day of re-start , "The critical measures that were identified in the safety improvement program have been incorporated at TOCDF and verified through a number of safety and operational reviews." However, only 10 days after firing up, the plant was shut down for 3 days, then brought back on line for 9 days, then down for 5, back up for 8 days and now down 3 days - - so far, this time.

"This is not a confidence builder," said Craig Williams, director of the anti-incineration Chemical Weapons Working Group (CWWG). "We've been saying for years that this incineration technology is fundamentally flawed and wonder when the Army will finally admit it."

Operations at the Kalama Island incinerator in the Pacific were originally predicted to take 5 years at a cost of $265 Million, and instead took almost 11 years, at a cost of $1.3+ Billion. While in Utah, the disposal of one class of weapon, the GB (Sarin) filled M-55 rocket, was scheduled to take 6 months - instead it took over 4 years.

"At this rate my grandchildren will be fighting these incinerators," said Williams.

The latest shutdown in Utah was due to VX, the deadliest of agents in the U.S. stockpile, being detected in an observation corridor inside the plant. Fortunately, according to an Army spokesperson, there were no one in the area at the time of the incident.

Due to citizen opposition, incineration has been abandoned, in favor of neutralization, at four of the eight chemical weapons sites in the U.S. But three more burners are built - all in very populated areas compared to the Utah desert (Anniston, AL; Pine Bluff, AR; Umatilla, OR).

"With the history of agent releases, worker exposures, technical malfunctions and schedule problems it's beyond reason to continue down this path," said Williams. "All these glitches were predicted by technical experts from the activist side years ago, with many saying that this technology would result in fatalities. We certainly hope the Army wakes up before these experts are proven right, again. This is not a circumstance in which anyone wants to say 'I told you so'."


It seems that Utah did have it's problems with this method of
destruction.

lizbud
08-16-2003, 10:08 PM
Karen,

There are other methods that can be used other than burning,
burying or continuing to store this dangerous material. You're
pretty safe in Mass. ,as there are no storage sites in that state.

Lady's Human
08-20-2003, 09:41 AM
The plant shutting down due to internal leakage is an engineering success. At no time has a chemical agent leaked out of the plant into the environment, as the internal filtration system bars any plant air going into the outside atmosphere without scrubbing. Regardless of how the weapons are destroyed, there will be an environmental hazard until the destruction is complete. Again, I would have no qualms about this plant being next door. The systems and safeguards in place make the possibility of an external leak miniscule. We are not the Soviet Union, with thousands of square miles of territory uninhabitable due to environmental catastrophes. The US military is switching to non-lead ammunition to avoid environmental difficulties, all our vehicles have spill kits, and all our personnel are trained in the cleanup of spills. We are possibly the "greenest" military in the world. I sincerely doubt a project planned and executed by the current DOD would be allowed to go forward without extensive vetting by all agencies involved.