Sandia EDS begins chemical munitions elimination

Sandia National Laboratories technologist Tom Raber recently prepared the EDS explosive containment vessel for shipment to the U.S. Army Pueblo Chemical Depot. | Courtesy of Sandia National Labs
Sandia National Laboratories announced on Tuesday that it has begun eliminating the chemical munitions stockpile on behalf of the U.S. Army with its Explosive Destruction System (EDS).
A majority of the chemicals will be destroyed at the Pueblo Chemical Agent Destruction Pilot Plant in Colorado. The EDS system will be eliminating substances that are not able to be handled by the plant's automated systems.
“EDS was originally designed for nonstockpile chemical munitions at recovery sites, many of which are deformed and corroded,” mechanical engineer and Sandia Project lead Brent Haroldsen said. “Stockpile munitions are generally in better shape, but there are always a few that are leaking or damaged. That’s where EDS will come in to keep the plant moving efficiently.”
This project will eliminate 560 chemical munitions at the Pueblo facility, and will act as a precursor to a much larger elimination project to destroy the entire stockpile that has been held at the facility since the 1950s, amounting to a total of 2,600 tons of mustard agent.
According to the announcement, the EDS is able to process the munitions elimination in a quicker manner than earlier models, which focused on transportability rather than mass processing. The new system, called the Phase Two Retrofit, allows for easier processing of these munitions. It is expected that the EDS will destroy approximately 1,300 units over a five-year period.

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