U.S. destroys 80 percent of its chemical agent stockpile

The U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency announced that, as of October 3, it has destroyed 80 percent of the U.S. chemical agent stockpile in compliance with the ratification of the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention.

Eighty percent of the stockpile accounts for nearly 25,000 tons of chemical agent and more than 2.1 million munitions. The 50 percent mark was reached in December of 2007 and the 75 percent mark in July of 2010, according to the CMA.

“This is another positive step in meeting the treaty and our commitment to the American people to safely dispose of the stockpile of chemical weapons,” CMA Director Conrad Whyte said in a CMA news release. "It is a direct result of the dedicated efforts of the government and contractor personnel at CMA who day-by-day safely store and destroy the stockpile.”

The CMA is on pace to reach the 90 percent destruction mark by April 2012. From that point on, the U.S. Army Element Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives program will be responsible for dealing with the remaining chemical weapons.

Three chemical weapons sites have, in the meantime, closed their doors. Neutralization sites at Aberdeen, Maryland and Newport, Indiana, as well as the incineration site at Johnson Atoll in the Pacific, have all destroyed their remaining stockpiles and no longer function.

The CMA stores chemical agent munitions at ACWA sites near Richmond, Kentucky, and Pueblo, Colorado. The CMA’s four remaining sites are continuing to destroy blister agent at Anniston, Alabama; Pine Bluff, Arkansas; Tooele, Utah and Umatilla, Oregon.