The Richmond Register

February 14, 2013

Final pieces of steel installed in weapons plant’s demil building


Special to the Register

RICHMOND — Construction crews at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (BGCAPP) marked another milestone this month as the final pieces of major structural steel were installed in the plant’s Munitions Demilitarization Building (MDB).

The milestone represents completion of the building’s 10-year design and construction, according to Stephanie Parrett of the Chemical Stockpile Outreach Office.

The MDB is the largest and most complex facility of the weapons-destruction plant being built at the Blue Grass Army Depot, she said. It contains more than 3,650 tons of structural steel

The 143,000 square-foot building’s footprint could accommodate two football fields.

During weapons-destruction operations, an automated process in the MDB will remove the weapons’ energetics and chemical agents for destruction in separate processes.

A small portion of structural steel remains to be installed to allow workers space to set more process equipment, Parrett said.

“Completing this work allows for more progress, as we now move forward to enclose the facility with exterior siding,” said Gil Drexel, construction manager for Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass, the contractor that is building and will operate the plant. “This accomplishment was made possible by our entire workforce that includes skilled local ironworkers from the Central Kentucky Building and Construction Trades Council.”

Design of the building began in 2003. Since breaking ground in 2006, workers have completed the building’s concrete foundation and blast-proof rooms, and installed large neutralization process equipment. Now that the facility’s major structural steel is also complete, work will shift to installing piping and wiring, along with specially-designed and fabricated munitions reverse assembly equipment, Parrett said.

“Completing major structural steel work is another example of everyone’s commitment to progress and getting the job done right,” explained Jeff Brubaker, the Army’s site project manager. “This milestone is a reflection of the entire team’s collaboration and rigorous support for a common mission and goal.”

Tom McKinney, Bechtel Parsons project manager, agreed.

“Milestones are worthy of recognition when they are completed safely and with the highest of quality standards,” McKinney said. “From design to procurement to construction, every step is important. Designing and reviewing the steel, finding high-quality U.S. fabricators, and safely erecting the facility were all critical.”

The weapons-destruction plant is being built to safely and efficiently destroy a stockpile of 523 tons of blister and nerve agents in projectiles and rockets currently in storage at the Blue Grass Army Depot, Parrett said.

Construction is now more than 64 percent complete, systemization is more than 9 percent complete and work is progressing on a variety of facilities that will support chemical demilitarization operations.

For more information on the project, visit the Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives website at www.peoacwa.army.mil.