The U.S. Army says it’s in the process of destroying all of its aging chemical weapons in Utah, where the largest stockpile of toxins, blister, and blood agents have been stored since the Cold War.
The Army’s Deseret Chemical Depot has burned off weapons in a 1,500 degree furnace, deactivating mustard gas agents, which can cause serious skin blisters. The world’s largest storage unit for chemical weapons will incinerate Lewisite supplies this weekend, a powerful eye, skin, and lung irritant.
The U.S. is part of an international treaty with the goal of removing chemical weapons from the world, which has been met with spotty levels of success. The goal was originally supposed to be completed by April 29, but will take years to complete.
According to Craig Williams, director of the Chemical Weapons Working Group in Berea, Kentucky, 188 of 194 countries have signed the treaty, a great feat for the future of the world’s safety.
While 90% of U.S. chemical weapons will be destroyed, it will still take as long as 2021 to destroy the final 10% in Pueblo, Colorado, and Richmond, Kentucky. So far, U.S. chemical weapons have already been destroyed in Anniston, Alabama; Aberdeen, Maryland; Pine Bluff, Arkansas; Umatilla, Oregon; Newport, Indiana; and a Pacific atoll.
According to an international trubunal vote last month, each country must lay out detailed plans by April 29 regarding how they will finish the job “in the shortest time possible.”
Image CC licensed by Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives: Blue Grass Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (BGCAPP) workers offload the first of the Enhanced On-site Containers. They are used to safely transport the chemical munitions.