|From:||Lenny Siegel <firstname.lastname@example.org>|
|Date:||Mon, 30 Jan 1995 21:51:31 -0800 (PST)|
|Subject:||CHEMICAL WEAPONS DISPOSAL|
CHEMICAL WEAPONS DEMILITARIZATION COSTS SKYROCKET While cleanup, environmental compliance, pollution prevention, and environmental technology programs deserve steady or increasing budgets, there is one large "environmental" program that deserves cuts, the skyrocketing chemical stockpile demilitarization program. This program, viewed as a threat to public health in the communities where incineration is supposed to take place, keeps growing and growing. The stockpile can be protected, stabilized, and monitored while research and development projects test safer, cheaper disposal practices, at a fraction of the program's current cost. The following press release from the Chemical Weapons Working Group points out how out-of-control the demil program is. Lenny Siegel PRESS RELEASE: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 26,1995 Posting from Chemical Weapons Working Group ARMY WANTS MORE TIME AND MONEY FOR DANGEROUS EXPERIMENTAL CHEMICAL WEAPONS INCINERATOR IN THE PACIFIC - CITIZENS PROTEST At a time when Congress is talking about cutting public funding for public television, welfare, and education, and other public services to save money, it is business as usual for the U.S. Army Chemical Weapons stockpile disposal program and their financially dependent contractors. For years the Army has claimed that its Johnston Island, JACADS chemical weapons incinerator in the Pacific has proven to be a successful model for eight proposed incinerators on the U.S. mainland. However, a recent permit modification application shows that this experimental incinerator has been shut down more than half the time since it opened due to design flaws, technical problems, and other malfunctions. When the plant opened in 1990, the Army said that the Johnston Island incinerator would complete its work by the summer of 1995, at a cost of $660 million. The military now wants to extend operations until 1999 and spend an additional $650 million. This reflects the Army's overall program, the cost of which has risen more than 600% in the last ten years to a current estimate of more than $10 billion dollars. One system at JACADS, the Dunnage Incinerator, operated for only two days from June 30, 1990 through August 31, 1994 according to the permit application. The liquid incinerator, designed to vaporize chemical agent, did not operate on more than three quarters of the days in the same fifty-month period while the Metal Parts Furnace, which decontaminates projectiles and containers, was non- operational more than eighty percent of the time. Overall, no operations occurred at JACADS on 164 days in 1994, even under the Army's definition of an "operational day" as one in which hazardous waste was processed for at least one hour. The record was worse in 1990 and 1991 when no portion of the facility operated on more than half of the days of the two year period. Despite JACADS poor operating history, former Secretary of Defense, Les Aspin certified that "prove out" of the equipment and facility at JACADS was completed in August of 1993. That decision has allowed construction of other chemical weapons incinerators to move forward, despite citizen protest. Among the problems at JACADS which the Army permit modification request cites as reasons for the extension: -release of the chemical warfare agent GB into the atmosphere on two occasions, the most recent resulting in a nearly four month suspension of processing in 1994; - Jamming of the Deactivation Furnace System producing fires on two occasions; - Damage to a heating oven due to an explosion; - Munitions handling equipment problems which took two years to reduce to a "semi-acceptable level." Leaders of the national movement advocating the development of safer alternatives for chemical weapons disposal site this as yet another example of the failures of the Army incineration program, "the ongoing failure of JACADS demonstrates that incineration is a bankrupt approach to eliminating the U.S. chemical weapons stockpile," said Craig Williams of the Chemical Weapons Working Group (CWWG). Williams lives near a chemical weapons stockpile in Richmond, Kentucky. Meanwhile there are safer more environmentally sound technologies which could be developed for use on chemical weapons within 2-5 years, at a cost lower than that of incineration, such as: chemical neautralization, supercritical water oxidation, biodegredation, molten metals/molten salts, wet air oxidation, steam gasification, and electrochemical oxidation. The CWWG, a national coalition of citizens who live near these lethal weapons advocate that the Army abandon its incineration program and aggressively develop these alternatives. Citizens site concern about the public health risks of chemical weapons incineration, as their primary concern. The chemical weapons stockpile contains the some of the most lethal chemicals on the planet, and an accident at a mainland incinerator could prove lethal to thousands. "The military-industry love affair, bound by contracts and promises of huge profits is apparently the major reason for the Army's continuing support of incineration," said Hayden Burgess of the Pacific Asia Council of Indigenous Peoples. "No permit should give the Army an open ended opportunity to conduct incineration." Craig Williams concluded, "Congress should now force the Army to choose environmentally safe and fiscally responsible alternatives to demilitarize, and ultimately destroy, the chemical weapons arsenal." For more information about the Army's proposed incineration project, and what you can do to stop it contact the Chemical Weapons Working Group at "email@example.com" or P.O. Box 467, Berea, Ky 40403. Phone: 606-986-7565.
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