Blue Grass Army Depot finishes assessment of mustard gas projectiles

An X-ray assessment of a random sample of mustard gas projectiles was completed on Tuesday at the Blue Grass Army Depot in Madison County, Ky.

The results of the assessment, which will be made public later this year, will be used to evaluate and determine if the rounds should be exploded inside steel vessels, called detonation chambers, at a later date or if they can be manually drained, reports.

The completion of the project was announced at a Tuesday meeting of the Chemical Demilitarization Citizens’ Advisory Commission and the Chemical Destruction Community Advisory Board. These two groups meet quarterly to discuss progress of the plan to destroy all the chemical weapons at the depot.

As is common in these situations, the normally liquid mustard agent inside the 60-year-old shells appears to have solidified into a tar or gel-like consistency, Jeff Brubaker, the site's project manager for the pilot plant tasked with destroying the chemical agents, said, according to If the mustard agent is not able to be drained, it can pose a greater risk to workers in the destruction process, which will create the need to explode the shells in detonation chambers.

Ninety-six of the 15,400 rounds stored at the depot were X-rayed after being overpacked or put into a leakproof container before being placed in a protective igloo. The data will be analyzed and the results will be presented at the next quarterly meeting on Sept. 13.