Destruction of chemical weapons at Blue Grass Army Depot nears completion

Destruction of chemical weapons at Blue Grass Army Depot nears completion
Published: Jun. 7, 2023 at 11:02 AM CDT
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RICHMOND, Ky. (WKYT) - It has taken years, but officials with the Blue Grass Agent Chemical-Destruction Pilot Plant, or BGCAPP, say they are nearing completion of the project to destroy chemical weapons.

Officials say this process all started under the 1997 Chemical Weapons Convention Treaty. In 2019, the BGCAPP team began the destruction of more than 100,000 projectiles and rockets.

Fast forward four years, around 87% of the rockets have been destroyed, and they say they will be ahead of schedule for completion. Under the treaty, the U.S. committed to completing the destruction by September 30, 2023.

There were five different types of munitions, which they have now gotten down to one. They point out this process has been long because these weapons served one purpose - to be fired, not dismantled.

However, now that they are being taken apart, the next step will be a closure phase. That process includes decontaminating the facilities and will take two to three years.

Once it’s over, the community liaison says the focus will be on trying to keep this workforce in a job and in this community.

“This is a very very well-trained professional, highly security clearance group of people, whose who’s skill sets are enormously useful to a multitude of industries, some of which were trying to attract here,” said Craig Williams, co-chair of the Governor’s Commission on Weapons Demilitarization.

Another question that remains is what will become of the land once this closure phase is completed. Williams says they are looking at multiple options, from Army-related projects to private industries.

To that end, they will host two industry days at the depot later this month on June 27-28.