Pine Bluff Arsenal completes chemical weapons destruction

The Pine Bluff Arsenal in White Hall, Arkansas, has completed a five year mission to destroy its entire chemical weapons stockpile, which included mustard gas, VX and GB filled rockets and land mines.

The PBA carried out the destruction, which had been laid out in a 1997 international treaty that called for the elimination of chemical weapon stockpiles by 2017, using a huge incinerator, The Cabin reports.

“For more than 60 years, the Pine Bluff team stored approximately 3,850 tons of the nation’s original chemical agent stockpile,” Conrad Whyne, the U.S. Army's Chemical Materials Agency director, said, according to The Cabin. “Today, the Pine Bluff stockpile has been safely disposed of. From the very beginning, employees as Pine Bluff and throughout the (agency) made safety the cornerstone of our chemical weapons stockpile storage and destruction missions. Today we reap the benefits of their dedication and vigilance.”

Disposal of the mustard agent containers was stage four in the weapons destruction process that began in 2005, following the destruction of rockets filled with GB or VX nerve agent and VX nerve agent-filled land mines, The Cabin reports. When the process began, the facility had 12 percent of the nation’s entire chemical weapons stockpile.

According to the Chemical Materials Agency, around 82 percent of the nation’s stockpile of chemical weapons has been destroyed.

Over the course of the next two years, the arsenal must decommission their incinerator and related facilities. The arsenal will remain open as it is still used to produce and test chemical defense clothing and make pyrotechnic-related devices that are non-lethal.