2002 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 11 Dec 2002 20:28:59 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Arsenal ready to burn arms
Arsenal ready to burn arms

WHITE HALL — Construction of the incinerator at the Pine Bluff Arsenal is now complete, clearing the way for the elimination of its supply of chemical weapons, 12 percent of the nation’s stockpile.

If all goes as planned, the incineration of those weapons will begin in April 2004.

About 120 people toured the facility Tuesday during an open house commemorating the completion of the $300 million facility. The Pine Bluff Arsenal is one of five sites in the nation where the chemical weapons will be incinerated to meet the mandates of an international accord. "Today, it could be said, is the end of the beginning of the very important work that must be done here," said Col. Mark Henscheid, commander of the Pine Bluff Arsenal.

By 2010, the Army intends to destroy the arsenal’s aging, World War II-era stockpile, which includes 90,231 M55 rockets filled with GB nerve agent and 19,582 M55 rockets filled with VX agent.

The United States is supposed to destroy much of its chemical weapon reserves by 2007, a deadline set by the International Chemical Weapons Convention of 1997.

Army officials, however, expect the deadline will be pushed back to 2012. With the temporary closure of an incinerator in Tooele, Utah, the Army will need the extra time, said Delbert Bunch, deputy program manager for the branch of the Army overseeing the chemical demilitarization effort. "Right now, we’re on track to hit that deadline [2012], but hon- estly it’s not going as fast as I would like," Bunch said.

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