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Decaying Rocket Fuel Raises Chemical Weapons Fears in Kentucky (moved from ATSNN)

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posted on Jul, 20 2005 @ 02:42 AM
The aging stockpile of chemical weapons in Kentucky has always been a source of concern for local residents. News that the Defense Department is considering removing the warheads of 77,000 aging rockets has residents even more worried. There is currently no facility that can take the warheads, and any contact with the decaying weapons runs the risk of sparking a disaster. The rockets are loaded with VX and Sarin, extraordinarily deadly substances. There have been 5 reported chemical leaks so far, along with a number of fires at other locations, resulting from the dismantling process undertaken before incineration.
Military officials are considering separating potentially unstable rockets from chemical warheads at the Blue Grass Army Depot, raising new safety concerns from residents around Richmond, Ky.

The Defense Department wants to make sure that aging rocket propellant is safe, following recent fires during the disposal of chemical weapons at the Umatilla Chemical Agent Disposal Facility in Oregon and the Pine Bluff Chemical Agent Disposal Facility in Arkansas.

Blue Grass rockets have not caused any fires or explosions, said Jim Fritche, site project manager at Blue Grass for the assembled chemical weapons alternatives program. But, he said, officials want to know more about the state of the decades-old rocket fuel.

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This is one of those situations where there isn't really a good option. If you disturb the rockets, you run the risk of sparking a chemical disaster. If you don't disturb the rockets, you run the risk of sparking a chemical disaster.

The townspeople are not thrilled about this. I think they realize what a lose-lose situation they're in.

At this point the DoD is studying the fuel more closely to try and understand the risks better. Once those studies are comlpeted, they'll probably brief the town, but they won't necessarily include the town in the decision making process.

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