Chemical Weapons News – March 6

Israelis Poorly Prepared for Chemical Strike, Report Says – Global Security Newswire
The Israeli public is highly vulnerable to a chemical-weapon attack because the government has made a “continuing mess” of plans to collect and maintain aging supplies of gas masks and other materials…

Preparing for WMDs – The Brownsville Herald
The officers and agents on Wednesday raced into the ramshackle house with their assault rifles ready. They searched for a bag of white powder – an unknown chemical with unknown consequences. It could have been anthrax. It could have been deadly…

Waste From Blue Grass Chemical Disposal Project Reaches Texas – Global Security Newswire
The first batch of wastewater produced by a small-scale chemical warfare materials disposal project at the Blue Grass Army Depot in Kentucky has arrived at a Texas incinerator…

S’pore hosts training course for protection against chemical weapons – Asian One News
The inaugural “Emergency Response to Chemical Incidents” training course will be conducted from 2 to 6 March 2009 at the Civil Defence Academy…

Chemical Weapons News – March 3

Economic Meltdown Could Hamper Chemical Weapons Disarmament, OPCW Chief Says – Global Security Newswire
Nations might find it more difficult amid the global economic meltdown to provide the funding needed to meet the international deadline for chemical weapons disarmament…

Russian Chemical Disarmament Faces Budget Crunch – Global Security Newswire
The global economic crisis could derail Russia’s effort to meet the international deadline for full elimination of its chemical weapons arsenal…

Subs ready to prowl for dumped weapons – Honolulu Advertiser
The University of Hawai’i's two submersible craft will descend 900 to 2,000 feet to the ocean floor five miles south of Pearl Harbor starting next week to search for tons of chemical weapons that were dumped during and after World War II, the Army said…

Army and UH Search for Underwater Weapons – KGMB9
In 2006 off the Waianae coast, researchers put a camera in the ocean to search for discarded ordnance and scored a direct hit. Ordnance Reef is one of three military dump sites off Oahu…

Depth Chargers – Star Bulletin
The University of Hawaii’s two submersibles will spend 15 days beginning Monday filming and taking water and sediment samples south of Pearl Harbor as part of an Army project…

Undersea bombs threaten marine life – CNN
Beyond the golden beaches and beneath the blue waters of the Puerto Rican island of Vieques is a site that resembles more of a munitions graveyard than a Caribbean paradise…

Groups discuss ratification of Chemical Weapons Convention – The Freeport News
Representatives from the Ministries of Environment, National Security and Foreign Affairs as well as a number of other public and private enterprises converged at the Our Lucaya Resort for a meeting geared towards the ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention…

Operation Swift Solution reaches critical milestone – the Richmond Register
Operation Swift Solution, the Army initiative to eliminate three deteriorating steel containers storing a mixture of GB nerve agent and its decontamination breakdown products, reached another critical milestone…

Chemical Weapons News – February 20

Inspectors Visit U.S. Chemical Weapons Depot – Global Security Newswire
International inspectors this month visited a U.S. chemical weapons depot in Kentucky to assess its storage of munitions eventually set for destruction…

Fort Polk personnel exposed to blistering agent OK – Shreveport Times
All personnel exposed to a blistering substance dug up at the Army’s Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk have been medically cleared, a release from Fort Polk says…

Israel WMD use in Gaza alarms NAM – Press TV
The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) has condemned the use of “chemical weapons” by Israel in its recent operations against the Gaza Strip…

Israel Condemned in OPCW for Using Chemical Weapons in Gaza – FARS News Agency
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in the 55th meeting of its executive council condemned Israel for using chemical weapons against the Palestinian people…

Increased Activity Seen at Suspected Syrian Chemical Weapons Site – Global Security Newswire
Satellite images show an increase in operations at a suspected chemical weapons production facility in Syria…

Syria Appears to be Developing its Chemical Weapons Capability – Jane’s
Jane’s Intelligence Review used satellite images from commercial sources gathered between 2005 and 2008 to examine activity at the chemical weapons facility identified as Al Safir in northwest Syria…

Satellites identify apparent CW site in Syria – World Tribune
Syria is constructing what appears to be a chemical weapons facility near Turkey…

Chemical Munitions Casing Found to be Harmless – Australia.to
In early February 2009, the Department of Defence started remediation of a contaminated site at Marrangaroo Army Depot near Lithgow, NSW…

Global Chemical Weapons Disarmament Operations Near Halfway Mark – Global Security Newswire
More than 40 percent of the known global stockpile of chemical warfare materials has been destroyed…

Chemical Weapons News – Week of February 10

Storm Slows ‘Swift Solution’ – Richmond Register
The recent inclement weather has put a temporary halt on Operation Swift Solution at the Blue Grass Army Depot, and operations are to begin again on Monday, Feb. 9.

Nerve Agent May be Missing – Deseret News
Is the Army missing some nerve gas? Pentagon auditors concede that is a remote possibility because of discrepancies in records…

Veolia Completes Nerve Agent Destruction Contract; Expects Another – The Enterprise
Veolia Environmental Services is anticipating its next project to destroy a neutralized chemical nerve agent for the U.S. Army after marking its successful completion of incinerating…

Discrepancies Found in U.S. Nerve Agent Storage, Destruction Numbers – Global Security Newswire
Figures for the storage of lethal nerve agents at bases around the United States do not match accountings for disposal of the material…

Depot Team Moving to Mall – Kentucky.com – Lexington Herald-Leader
About 250 government and contracted employees of the Blue Grass Chemical Agent Destruction-Pilot Plant will move to new headquarters in Richmond Mall…

Recent CW News

Jan 16 – The Blue Grass Army Depot in Kentucky is continuing the disposal of three bulk containers once filled with sarin nerve agent.

Jan 23 – Chinese officials have pressed Japan to follow through on its pledge to recover and eliminate chemical weapons abandoned in China at the close of World War II.

Jan 27 – The Pine Bluff Arsenal in Arkansas is expected to meet the April 2012 international deadline for disposal of its stockpile of chemical weapons.

Jan 29 – The Umatilla Chemical Depot in Oregon is continuing preparations for disposal of more than 2,000 ton containers of mustard blister agent.

Recent CW News

Newport VX Destruction important for State and National Security – Senator Richard G. Lugar (R-Indiana)
On August 8, the last drops of the 1,269 tons of deadly VX nerve agent were destroyed at the Newport (Indiana) Chemical Agent Disposal Facility. This is a signal achievement …

Chemical weapon depots look to weapon-less future – Associated Press – The Chicago Tribune
During the Cold War, the Pine Bluff Arsenal held the secrets of the nation’s stockpile chemical and biological weapons against prying Soviet eyes. Now, arsenal commander Col. Bill Barnett worries about disclosing how many gas masks and mortar rounds …

Preparing for an urban WMD attack – CNET News
On Saturday, the San Francisco Fire Department, along with a group of other public and private agencies, ran a large-scale training exercise revolving around an urban weapons of mass destruction terrorist attack. …

Bay region drills for theoretical chemical attack on downtown San Francisco – San Francisco Sentinel
Multi-agency weapons of mass destruction drills are conducted on a regular basis in San Francisco, – each time with challenging new scenario – drawn from …

SF Police & Fire hold terrorism drill – ABC 7 News, San Francisco
The scene was the aftermath of a chemical attack in a downtown high rise- luckily this was only a drill. “Each time we do this the better off all of us are …

Firms in defence export breaches – The Canberra Times
Seventeen breaches involved the export of chemicals which are regulated because they could be used in the manufacture of chemical weapons, explosives or …

Decisions about incineration of toxic substances not taken lightly – Statesman Journal
Protecting Oregon’s environment is the mission of the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and the Oregon Environmental Commission. Nowhere is that more critical than at the Umatilla Chemical Depot, where it is …

VX Destroyed At Newport Depot – Chemical & Engineering News
The last container of VX nerve agent of the Newport, Ind., chemical weapons stockpile has been destroyed. “Newport’s stockpile has been safely eliminated, which brings the U.S. one step closer to …

Newport finishes VX destruction – Indianapolis Star
An Army contractor has finished three years of work on destroying a deadly nerve agent stored in western Indiana and is now moving ahead to dismantle the equipment built for the billion-dollar project, officials said today. The final container of VX nerve agent …

OPCW Director-General Extends Condolences Upon the Death of Mr Ian Kenyon – OPCW Press Release
The Director-General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, Ambassador Rogelio Pfirter, has expressed his deep condolences on the passing away of Mr Ian Kenyon the former Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for OPCW, from 1993 to 1997. …

Neutralization vs Incineration

The debate over how to destroy old CWs – incineration or neutralization – is continuing this summer in Oregon over how the Umatilla Chemical Depot should proceed with destruction of its mustard stockpile. This issue has been ongoing for several years with some facilities using incinerators and others neutralizing agents. Environmental groups argue that mercury in the mustard is not destroyed by incineration and is also not sufficiently removed by filters. Its release into the environment would contaminate the water of the surrounding community. The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and the Environmental Quality Commission are holding public meetings in July and August before they decide on what will be the best course to move forward with CW destruction at the Depot.

CW Destruction News

Kentucky lawmakers are asking the Army to review safety measures at the Blue Grass Army Depot. The Depot is storing sarin nerve agent until it can be destroyed. In August of 2007 a substantial leak was reported, and earlier this month another small leak was detected.

The Japanese scandal involving destruction of chemical weapons continued this week with a senior Japanese official arrested for tax evasion. He had used 3 ‘dummy firms’ to conceal personal income as consultancy fees paid by the company the official pressured the Japanese Defense Agency to award all of the CW disposal contracts, worth a total of 26.9 billion yen.

Transport CW? Part II

A few more articles and editorials appeared this weekend in the wake of USA Today’s July 2 report that the DoD plans to transport CW between facilities to speed up their destruction.

Give it up: Utah won’t accept more chemical weapons – The Salt Lake Tribune
The Pentagon just won’t give up the idea of moving chemical weapons from Colorado to Utah for destruction. Well, forget it. Since 1994, federal law has prohibited moving these weapons across state lines. There’s a good reason. Moving the stuff is …

Critics say Pentagon admits neutralization works – The Salt Lake Tribune
For years, the military has insisted that there is no safer way to destroy its chemical weapons than the incineration process used at the Deseret Chemical Depot. But when the Pentagon floated the idea of moving more chemical weapons to Utah …

Arsenal May Get More Weapons – The Pine Bluff Commercial
The Pine Bluff Arsenal has been so efficient at eliminating stockpiled chemical weapons that the facility is on a Department of Defense list for consideration to receive chemical weapons from other facilities, Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., told the Pine Bluff Commercial …

Report: Weapons can’t be destroyed by 2017 – The Richmond Register
Transporting chemical weapons from the Blue Grass Army Depot to Arkansas and Alabama, as well as halting construction plans for the weapons disposal facility, are just a few among many alternatives the Department of Defense …

Pentagon Weapons Plan Criticized – NewsroomAmerica.com
The Pentagon is being criticized for a plan released to Congress detailing the acceleration of shipments of deadly chemical weapons to various military sites for destruction …

US Public Fears Weapon Transport – Prensa Latina
Department of Defense plans to transport deadly chemicals for disposal on US highways clash with Congress and NGOs that consider it too dangerous. Congress has urged …