Blue Grass Army Depot completes 50 percent of weapons disposal construction

Construction on a chemical weapons disposal facility scheduled to open in Kentucky in five years is nearly half finished.

The facility being built at the Blue Grass Army Depot near Richmond is expected to be finished in 2016, and the disposal of 523 tons of chemical weaponry is due to be completed in 2021, according to MSNBC.

"We've had good progress over the last 12 months," site project manager Jeff Brubaker said, MSNBC reports.

In October, workers finished installing the vessels that will neutralize the chemical agents and the explosive components found inside the rockets and projectiles of the World War II-era ordinance. Two three ton reactors, not to be confused with nuclear reactors, will neutralize the chemical agents, and three six ton energetics reactors will destroy the warheads and propellants.

Plans for the facility call for roughly seven million feet of wiring, enough to cover 1,326 miles. Piping, fire-suppression, heating and ventilation work are continually added to the facility's structures.

It appears likely, though it has yet to be finally decided, that the the 155mm mustard agent projectiles will be destroyed in a different fashion than the nerve agent, MSNBC reports. There are plans to explode the 15,000 rounds inside steel detonation chambers.

Nearly 100 mustard rounds have shown some level of solidification of their blister agent, making the job more difficult. Trying to remove solidified agent poses a greater risk to workers and led to delays at the other facilities. A final recommendation is expected by the end of January.

Recently, plants in Anniston, Alabama, and Umatilla, Oregon, finished eliminating major stockpiles of chemical weapons, including mustard and VX nerve agent.