Army completes X-rays of chemical weapons

Officials with the Pueblo Chemical Depot in Pueblo, Colorado, have reported the recent completion of X-ray inspections on approximately 540 chemical weapons suspected of leaking.

The weapons had all been packed in steel cylinders after leaks were discovered or suspected over the course of the past 30 years, depot officials told

Lt. Col. Rob Wittig, base commander at Pueblo Chemical Depot, said the status of the X-ray scans, which he did not elaborate on, will be reported to the U.S. Army. The weapons in question, Whitig said, will likely be destroyed in explosion chambers. The X-ray scans were used so the cylinders didn’t have to be opened.

The operation, Whitig said, was a collaborative effort between the Pueblo Chemical Depot, the U.S. Army 20th Support Command CBRN division and the Non-Stockpile Chemical Material Project.

“This was a great cooperative effort that demonstrated the high level of training proficiency and the commitment to safety of all the organizations involved,” Whitig told “I am very proud of our work force for this significant accomplishment. They demonstrate every day that they are the very best.”

Constructed during World War II, the Pueblo Depot Activity facility was built to serve as an ammunition and material storage and shipping center. During the late 1950s, Pueblo became a major Army missile repair and maintenance facility. The facility operated at nearly full capacity during the Vietnam era.

Although the Army eliminated most of the facility’s missile maintenance responsibilities in 1975, Pueblo continued to support the Pershing missile system.

Pueblo’s primary mission in the 1990s became the storage of chemical munitions.

The Pueblo Chemical Depot’s mission is to ensure safe storage for part of the U.S. chemical weapons stockpile. The site, located about 14 miles east of Pueblo, Colorado, has been safely storing chemical weapons since the 1950s. The depot has 780,078 weapons with about 2,611 tons of mustard agent. This represents about 8.5 percent of the original U.S. chemical weapons stockpile.