New method of destruction for chemical weapon stockpiles advanced

A plan to use explosives to eliminate chemical weapons stockpiled in Colorado and Kentucky has been floated by army officials, arguing that it would improve safety while prevent lags in the nation's weapons destruction schedule.

Kevin Flamm, manager of the Army's Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives Program, met with community leaders in Richmond, Ky. - where 15,000 mustard-filled projectiles are stockpiled - to discuss the plan. A similar meeting is also scheduled for Pueblo, Colo.

Several devices are currently under consideration to create the explosion, including trailer mounted devices. All of the devices being considered rely in some part on an explosive charge to eliminate or contain the weapons. The technique, which isn't considered incineration, would replace the current chemical neutralization process employed at the sites.

Few concerns were raised by members of the Chemical Destruction Citizen Advisory Board when presented with the plan though fears were expressed that it could be expanded to other weapons without thorough testing.

Under the current schedule of destruction, laid out in an international treaty, Kentucky would be the last weapons site to begin operations in 2019 for destroying its stockpile to comply with an international treaty and the last to finish in 2021.

The United States expects to miss the 2012 weapons destruction deadline, but Flamm said that the project would allow scheduling gaps when no stockpile was actively destroying its weapons to be filled in, which would aid in showing the nation's commitment to the weapons destruction deadline.