The Richmond Register

Local News

December 12, 2013

Cyanide treatment plan discussed at chemical demilitarization meeting

MADISON COUNTY — A change to the process of neutralizing the chemical weapons at the Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant will prevent the formation of cyanide that could be dangerous to workers, according to the project’s chief scientist.

John Barton presented the information Wednesday afternoon to the quarterly meeting of the Kentucky Chemical Demilitarization Citizens’ Advisory Commission and the Chemical Destruction Community Advisory Board.

The problem involved the neutralization of the energetics in the rockets, not the nerve agents, Barton said. Energetics are the fuel used to propel a rocket.

Scientists who performed laboratory testing to simulate the plant’s chemical-agent destruction method discovered in 2010 that small amounts of cyanide formed during the process.

Barton said the cyanide created by the process is not a public risk but could be dangerous to workers and require additional protective measures during future plant operations.

“This was a serious problem and we worked hard” to find a solution, Barton said.

The solution the engineers and scientists developed is to increase the temperature within the energetics neutralization reactor to 300 degrees during processing. Laboratory tests have found that 93 to 95 percent of the cyanide will be removed at that temperature, he said.

The remaining small amount of cyanide in the leftover mixture will continue to break down while in storage before going through the secondary Supercritical Water Oxidation process and no more cyanide will be formed, Barton said. Cyanide levels will be continually monitored.

The high-temperature strategy does not significantly change the overall method of destroying the chemical weapons and will not lengthen the process, he said.

In other business:

• Lt. Col. Christopher Grice, commander of Blue Grass Chemical Activity, discussed the upcoming project to separate 44 M55 rockets from their chemical warheads for testing. There is concern about the degradation of the rockets’ motors and how that will affect their destruction, he said.

Blue Grass Chemical Activity workers will conduct the separations that will occur within one storage igloo. The chemicals will be repacked into sealed containers, he said.

Workers are undergoing training for the procedure, and it will commence in late March 2014.

• Jeff Brubaker, ACWA site manager, talked about the implementation of Explosive Destruction Technology to eliminate the mustard rounds at the depot. The project’s contractor, Bechtel Parsons Blue Grass, has already received approval from the Army to proceed with the use of EDT, and the equipment that will be used, the Static Detonation Chamber, has been selected.

The mustard rounds are the oldest chemical weapons at the depot and many of them have solidified, which makes it more dangerous for workers to dismantle and process them through the pilot plant that is being constructed.

Workers will be able to process the mustard gas projectiles without first dismantling them by using EDT.

Brubaker said he expects the EDT facility, which has yet to be constructed at the depot, to be operational by the end of 2016 or by early 2017.

The remaining chemical weapons, which contain nerve agents VX and GB, will still be processed through the main plant.

Sarah Hogsed can be reached at or 624-6694.

Info Box:

Information about Madison County resident Craig Williams’ recent trip to the Hague, Netherlands, to help with the international community’s plans to eliminate Syria’s chemical stockpile will be featured in Saturday’s edition of the Richmond Register.

Text Only
Local News
  • Regents approve smoke-free campus policy

    The Eastern Kentucky University Board of Regents on Monday approved a tobacco-free campus policy and set 2014-15 rates for tuition, housing and meal plans.

    Effective June 1, the use of tobacco on all property that is owned, leased, occupied or controlled by the university will be prohibited.

    April 14, 2014

  • Owner requests business zoning for corner of West Main and Tates Creek

    The owner of three lots at the corner of West Main Street and Tates Creek Avenue wants the property rezoned from R-1B (Single-family Residential) to B-1 (Neighborhood Business).

    April 14, 2014

  • $250,000 wrecker stolen

    A representative of Barger’s Wrecking Service, North Porter Drive, reported to Richmond police Sunday that a black, 1996 Peterbilt wrecker with company logos on it was stolen from the business’ parking lot. The wrecker is valued at $250,000, according to the police report.

    April 15, 2014

  • Local jobless rate for 2013 was same as 2012

    Madison was one of 12 Kentucky counties with a 2013 jobless rate unchanged from the previous year, according to statistics released Tuesday.

    Still, only four counties – Woodford, 6.1; Fayette and Oldham, 6.5; and Scott, 6.7 – had jobless rates better than Madison’s 6.8 percent.

    April 16, 2014

  • Danville officials table fairness ordinance

    City officials in Danville have tabled an anti-discrimination proposal.
    The Advocate-Messenger reports that the move on Monday came after questions were raised about its legality and suggestions were made for changes.

    April 15, 2014

  • Grimes outpaces McConnell in first quarter

    Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes has again outpaced her likely Republican general election opponent, incumbent Mitch McConnell, in fundraising during the first quarter — but she remains well behind McConnell in total fundraising and cash on hand.

    April 15, 2014

  • 4.15 Eggstravaganza 1.jpg Easter bunny's ‛eggbeater’ will fly eggs to Richmond

    Who knew the Easter bunny could fly?

    Skeptics can come to the Easter Eggstravaganza in Richmond’s Irvine-McDowell Park on Saturday to see for themselves. However, the bunny still doesn’t fly in bad weather. But on Monday, temperatures in the 60s with partly cloudy skies were predicted for Saturday.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Absentee voting in primary begins

    Voting for the May 20 primary election began Monday with mail-in and in-house absentee voting, according to an announcement from Madison County Clerk Kenny Barger.

    April 14, 2014

  • Wind today, possibly snow Tuesday morning; hard freeze Tuesday night

    While rain and possibly snow are in the forecast for Tuesday morning, the National Weather Service in Louisville is advising that high winds may continue in Madison County until 3 p.m. today. Gusts of up to 40 mph and scattered thunderstorms are possible.

    April 14, 2014

  • 4-13 SalvationArmyT1.jpg Salvation Army Auxiliary founder honored at 20th anniversary tea

    About 225 people filled the Christian Life Center of Richmond’s First Presbyterian Church on Saturday afternoon to enjoy an elegant tea and be entertained by a Dixieland band and a barbershop quartet, all in support of the local Salvation Army unit.
    This year’s tea celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Richmond Salvation Army Women’s Auxiliary, and recognition was given to the organization’s founder.

    April 13, 2014 18 Photos

AP Video
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide

Should the Richmond City Commission stop rezoning property to allow construction of apartments?

     View Results