Preparations begin for mustard gas assessments at Kentucky depot

Employees of the Blue Grass Chemical Activity will begin the preparation of stored mustard projectiles for x-ray assessments to take place this week at the Blue Grass Army Depot in Kentucky.

The operation intends to select samples of the mustard projectiles that are representative of the entire stockpile. They are to be stored in three facilities and then transported to a separate one designed for x-rays. The operation is scheduled to begin in May 2011, according to

The initial process is expected to last as long as several weeks and is considered the first step in the destruction of the chemical weapons munitions.

The x-rays will be utilized to determine whether or not the projectiles will be exploded inside steel vessel detonation chambers.

The U.S. Department of Defense is considering using the specialized detonation chambers to destroy mustard agent shells that are judged too unstable or difficult to dispose of through chemical neutralization, reports.

The depot houses 15,492 mustard weapons. Neutralization of the installation’s total stockpile of 523 tons of blister and nerve agents is scheduled to begin in 2018 and end in 2021.

The Blue Grass Army Depot is located in central Kentucky and employs approximately 1,000 personnel with a payroll of $79 million in 2009, according to It provides conventional ammunition services, chemical defense equipment management and manufacturing capabilities for the DOD.

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U.S. Department of Defense 2 N Rotary Rd Arlington, VA 22202

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