Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New approaches needed for uncovering, identifying, and treating buried chemical warfare material

Date:
August 6, 2012
Source:
National Academy of Sciences
Summary:
The current approach for identifying and destroying buried chemical munitions and related chemical warfare materials uncovered during environmental remediation projects is neither reliable enough nor has the capability to efficiently tackle large-scale projects, says a new report.

The current approach for identifying and destroying buried chemical munitions and related chemical warfare materials uncovered during environmental remediation projects is neither reliable enough nor has the capability to efficiently tackle large-scale projects, says a new report from the National Research Council.An alternative or modified approach is needed to remediate the Redstone Arsenal and other such projects on active and former U.S. Department of Defense sites and ranges.

Additionally, the report recommends that the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Army each select a single office to manage and fund recovered chemical warfare materiel (RCWM) remediation activities for DOD.Currently, authority and funding for RCWM activities depend on how and where the materiel is discovered, and could fall under multiple offices of either the secretary of defense or the Army Secretariat.The Army mission for RCWM remediation is turning into a much larger program that will rival those for conventional munition and hazardous substance cleanup, the report says, and is expected to cost billions of dollars over several years.A clear organizational structure and long-term funding are needed.

The secretary of the Army should also establish a new position at the level of the senior executive service (civilian) or a general officer (military) to lead the RCWM program.The secretary should delegate full responsibility and accountability for RCWM program performance to this person, including for planning, budgeting, and execution and for day-to-day oversight, guidance, management, and direction of the program.

Following a 1985 directive from Congress, the Army has undertaken the monumental task of destroying the existing U.S. stockpile of chemical weapons.To date, 90 percent of the stockpile has been destroyed, and the remaining 10 percent is expected to be destroyed by 2022.However, during the early- to mid-20th century, chemical weapons and chemical warfare materiel were often disposed of by open pit burning and burial at approximately 250 sites in 40 states, the District of Columbia, and three territories.Remediation of this buried materiel, in addition to environmental cleanup of the burial sites, therefore poses significant challenges to the nation and DOD.The report examines important regulatory issues that ultimately affect the need, timing, and costs of remediating these sites.Federal and state environmental remediation policies address whether buried CWM must be excavated and destroyed or contained in place.

To destroy any intact chemical munitions uncovered during remediation efforts, teams will most likely use either the Army's Explosive Destruction System (EDS) or one of three commercially available technologies.The EDS is an effective and reliable technology, and the Army has an active research and development program under way to improve the throughput rate, or speed at which chemicals can be identified.The three commercially available destruction technologies have higher throughput rates, but reliability problems were encountered when one of these -- the Dynasafe Static Detonation Chamber -- was recently used to destroy a portion of stockpiled munitions in Anniston, Ala.The report recommends ways to alleviate these problems and suggests alternatives to the EDS and commercial systems.Also explored is the potential use of robotic systems to access and remove buried CWM.

The lack of an accurate inventory of buried munitions and of a reliable cost estimate for the RCWM program makes it difficult to establish precise, long-term budget requirements and draw up a funding plan for an RCWM program going forward that has the level of certainty typically associated with DOD project implementation.The report recommends as a "matter of urgency" that the secretary of defense increase funding for the remediation of chemical warfare materiel to enable the Army to complete the inventories of known and suspected buried chemical munitions no later than 2013 and develop a quantitative basis for overall funding of the program, with updates as needed to facilitate accurate budget forecasts.Pending establishment of a final RCWM management structure, this task should be assigned to the director of the Army's Chemical Materials Agency as chair of the provisional RCWM integrating office.

Redstone Arsenal facility in Alabama -- the site with the largest quantity of buried CWM in the U.S., and which has groundwater contamination -- is presented as a case study to show how issues raised in the report can be practically applied.

Report: http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=13419


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Academy of Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Academy of Sciences. "New approaches needed for uncovering, identifying, and treating buried chemical warfare material." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 August 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120806130857.htm>.
National Academy of Sciences. (2012, August 6). New approaches needed for uncovering, identifying, and treating buried chemical warfare material. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120806130857.htm
National Academy of Sciences. "New approaches needed for uncovering, identifying, and treating buried chemical warfare material." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120806130857.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Chameleon Camouflage to Give Tanks Cloaking Capabilities

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) — Inspired by the way a chameleon changes its colour to disguise itself; scientists in Poland want to replace traditional camouflage paint with thousands of electrochromic plates that will continuously change colour to blend with its surroundings. The first PL-01 concept tank prototype will be tested within a few years, with scientists predicting that a similar technology could even be woven into the fabric of a soldiers' clothing making them virtually invisible to the naked eye. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jet Sales Lift Boeing Profit 18 Pct.

Jet Sales Lift Boeing Profit 18 Pct.

Reuters - Business Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) — Strong jet demand has pushed Boeing to raise its profit forecast for the third time, but analysts were disappointed by its small cash flow. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

Internet of Things Aims to Smarten Your Life

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) — As more and more Bluetooth-enabled devices are reaching consumers, developers are busy connecting them together as part of the Internet of Things. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
What Is Magic Leap, And Why Is It Worth $500M?

What Is Magic Leap, And Why Is It Worth $500M?

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) — Magic Leap isn't publicizing much more than a description of its product, but it’s been enough for Google and others to invest more than $500M. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins