Desert Chemical Depot begins final chemical weapons incinerations

Workers at the Deseret Chemical Depot near Stockton, Utah, recently began incineration operations on the depot’s remaining stockpile of GA nerve agent, also known as Tabun.

The relatively small quantity of GA agent will be destroyed using the depot’s Area 10 Liquid Incinerator, a smaller-scale incineration system located near to where the chemicals have been stockpiled for decades.

The ATLIC is reportedly being used to facilitate the U.S. Army in meeting the April 12, 2012, deadline set under the Chemical Weapons Convention for the U.S. to complete the destruction of its chemical arsenal.

In addition to the GA agent, the incinerator will also be used to destroy a small stockpile of Lewisite blister agent containers while the larger Tooele Chemical Agent Disposal Facility processes other remaining munitions.

The GA agent operations are expected to last no more than two weeks. The DCD has stored the GA agent since it was captured by U.S. forces in Nazi Germany near the end of World War II.

The stockpiles of chemical agents stored at the DCD are expected to be completely eliminated by early 2012 if all goes according schedule. In the last 15 years, the DCD has overseen the destruction of nearly 13,000 containers of sarin, VX and mustard agent.