| USWorld

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Army tackles $1.3B task to demolish incinerators

Workers carry out the process of demolishing a chemical waste incinerator at the Anniston Army Depot in Anniston, Ala.

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

By The Associated Press
Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013, 8:24 p.m.

ANNISTON, Ala. — The Pentagon spent $10.2 billion over three decades burning tons of deadly nerve gas and other chemical weapons stored in four states — some of the agents so deadly that even a few drops can kill.

Now with all those chemicals up in smoke and communities freed of a threat, the Army is in the middle of another, $1.3 billion project: demolishing the incinerators that destroyed the toxic materials.

In Alabama, Oregon, Utah and Arkansas, crews are tearing apart multibillion-dollar incinerators or working to draw the curtain on a drama that began in the Cold War, when the United States and the former Soviet Union stockpiled millions of pounds of chemical weapons.

Construction work continues at two other sites where technology other than incineration will be used to neutralize agents chemically, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

At the incinerator complex at the Anniston Army Depot — where sarin, VX nerve gas and mustard gas were stored about 55 miles east of Birmingham — the military said last week that it's about one-third of the way into a $310 million program to level a gigantic furnace that cost $2.4 billion to build and operate.

Tim Garrett, the government site project manager, said officials considered other uses for the incinerator, but the facility was too specialized to convert. The law originally allowing chemical incineration required demolition once the work was done.

The military said the incineration program cost $11.5 billion in all, with the cost of tearing down the four facilities included from the start.

While opponents of the incinerators predicted dire consequences and the possibility of floating clouds of nerve gas in the event of an accident, the CDC said no nearby residents were exposed to or harmed by chemical agents.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.



Show commenting policy

Most-Read Nation

  1. Stocks up before earnings reports
  2. El Niño storms might not be savior for Calif.
  3. House’s Flores will seek speakership if Ryan doesn’t
  4. Dissolving heart stent fuels hope for new generation of devices
  5. Supreme Court to consider reprieve for teens who kill
  6. Half Moon Bay contest dubs 1,969-pound pumpkin the plumpest
  7. Army budget cuts stretch forces thin, threaten readiness, secretary says during conference
  8. Part of major highway reopens as South Carolina recovers from floods
  9. Lawmaker seeks ban on LGBT ‘conversion therapy’ in New Hampshire
  10. Tennessee bill seeks to curtail teaching of ‘religious doctrine’
  11. Wyoming fire forces evacuations