Chemical weapons destruction not a cause for concern, chairwoman says

Completing the elimination of chemical weapons on schedule is not a major concern for the chairwoman of the Colorado commission who oversees the stockpile destruction project at the Pueblo Chemical Depot in Pueblo, Colorado.

Irene Kornelly, the chair of the Colorado Chemical Demilitarization Citizens Advisory Commission, is currently in attendance at a national meeting of the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program in Portland, Oregon, according to

Kornelly said that a number of U.S. Department of Defense officials were also at the meeting, where one commented that the schedule was, “a time frame fixed in Jell-O,” reports.

The Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives Program, under which the Pueblo Depot and the Bluegrass Army Depot in Kentucky operate, was recently re-certified after it was estimated that the projects will cost 33 percent more than originally believed.

The Pentagon’s Cost Analysis and Program Evaluation panel told ACWA officials that two years should be added to the elimination schedule at the two depots. The AWCA and Bechtel, the primary contractor at the Pueblo depot, predicted that they could complete the project in 2017, but CAPE warned that there are several risks that could cause delays to the schedule.

Analysts fear that newly designed equipment, the newly adopted water neutralization process and a bioreactor used to break down waste could take longer than thought to become fully operational.

“These risk factors are extremely conservative,” Kornelly said, reports. “There’s a chance that some of those risk factors will not happen and there’s a chance that some of them will happen.”

Kornelly added that similar concerns were voiced about other chemical demilitarization plants around the country that plan to complete the elimination of their stockpiles by 2012.

“Those same types of risk factors were put into all of the facilities and in very few cases did any of those risk factors occur,” Kornelly said, according to

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