Anniston Chemical Agent Disposal Facility
Making Chemical Weapons History in Alabama
Inducted in 2011
The Anniston Chemical Agent Disposal Facility impressively meets and exceeds its challenge of safely destroying the chemical weapons stockpile at the Anniston Army Depot. While working with deadly substances and weapons, the disposal facility has successfully eliminated 99 percent of the risk to the public from the depot’s stockpile of 4.5 million pounds.
Storage of chemical weapons at the Anniston Army Depot, one of eight continental Army sites, began in 1963. Prior to the beginning of disposal operations in 2003, the depot stored 7.1 percent by agent weight of the total U.S. chemical weapons stockpile, which consisted of more than 2,200 tons of nerve and blister agents in more than 661,000 chemical weapons. As of November 2010, the Anniston Chemical Agent Disposal Facility has safely destroyed more than 90 percent of the sensitive, lethal compounds and munitions, some of which are more than 50 years old.
Employing more than 900, the Anniston Chemical Agent Disposal Facility’s yearly operating budget is over $160 million. The facility encompasses 50 acres, and its structures have 83,000 square feet of work space with more than 15,000 plant activities and processes. The facility has contributed to the enhancement of chemical-agent monitoring, personnel protection and destruction of chemical weapons.
Implemented, improved and proven at Anniston Chemical Agent Disposal Facility, the Linear Projectile Mortar Disassembly machine utilizes an electro-server-driven-pick-and-place robot to move munitions to individual stations in a more efficient manner, as opposed to using traditional hydraulic systems. The LPMD will benefit other demilitarization sites through the use of improved technology and the documentation of countless lessons learned.
The Anniston Chemical Agent Disposal Facility was a key player in developing and implementing the Static Detonation Chamber, which will allow the U.S. and other countries to safely destroy chemical and conventional munitions without impact to the environment. The SDC reduces the safety risk of processing over-packed or leaking munitions.
The U.S. signed a treaty — The Convention on the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction (Chemical Weapons Convention) — in 1993. Currently 188 countries, including the U.S., have ratified the treaty, agreeing to chemically disarm their countries by destroying any stockpiles of chemical weapons they may hold and any facilities that produced them, as well as any chemical weapons they abandoned on the territory of other countries. The treaty requires destruction of the entire U.S. chemical weapons stockpile by April 2012.
After a stringent, nine-year permitting process, construction of the Anniston Chemical Agent Disposal Facility began in 1997 and was completed in 2001. Destruction of the Alabama stockpile began in 2003. By 2008, the facility completed destruction of all nerve agents, more than 2.5 million pounds stored at the Anniston Army Depot, with an impeccable safety record and high record for the environment. The final task, which is destroying the mustard stockpile, began in July 2009. In less than two years, there will be no chemical stockpile in Alabama.