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Anybody hear about this and know what prompted this?

Army Begins Burning Chemical Arms in Ala.
Sat Aug 9, 4:42 PM ET Add Top Stories - AP to My Yahoo!

By JAY REEVES, Associated Press Writer

ANNISTON, Ala. - Most people paid no attention Saturday when the Army fired up its first chemical weapons incinerator located near a residential area to destroy two rockets loaded with enough sarin nerve agent to wipe out a city.

Workers wearing protective gear loaded the 6 1/2-foot-long rocket onto a conveyor belt and sent it into a sealed room, where it was drained of 1.2 gallons of the deadly chemical and chopped into eight pieces.

Those pieces were fed into an 1,100-degree furnace, producing slag that will be trucked to a hazardous waste landfill in western Alabama. The sarin was directed to a holding tank, to be held until there is enough to burn in a large batch, probably in late October.

Processing the first rocket took 36 minutes, slower than normal to make sure everything was working properly. "The operation was flawless," Army project manager Tim Garrett said.

Workers dismantled a second rocket before calling it a day Saturday.

Just outside the incinerator gate, Roger Johnson didn't even bother to use his protective mask and safety gear while he cut grass at the county landfill.

"It's more dangerous going down I-20," the main highway through Anniston, incinerator spokesman Mike Abrams said.

One protester showed up at the gate. Rufus Kinney of nearby Jacksonville said the Army should not have started before everyone had safety equipment.

"They'll blow up west Anniston one night when we least expect it," Abrams said.

A judge gave final clearance Friday for the $1 billion project, capping years of preparation and legal challenges.

The Army planned to destroy as many as 10 of the M-55 rockets this weekend at the Anniston Army Depot and slowly increase to a rate of 40 rockets an hour by next year.

The Army's other incinerators are in more remote locations: Johnston Atoll in the Pacific Ocean and in the desert near Tooele, Utah. Another incinerator is being tested at Pine Bluff Arsenal near Pine Bluff, Ark., a city of about 55,000, and is expected to begin burning chemical weapons late next year.

The military is still handing out protective hoods and other safety gear to many of the 35,000 people who live within nine miles of the Anniston incinerator, and some schools in the area have yet to be outfitted with special ventilation equipment designed to keep out lethal fumes in case of an accident.

Sarin, also known as "GB," is so deadly a drop on the skin can kill.

The military contends incinerating the weapons is far safer than storing them. Abrams said the nerve agent VX and mustard gas also are stored at Anniston, but officials decided to begin with sarin rockets because nearly 800 of them are leaking.

Nearly 700,000 munitions weighing 2,254 tons have been stored at the depot for more than 40 years in earth-covered, concrete-reinforced bunkers.
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HI keylargo. Missed you Smile
I hadn't heard about it, but at least they are destroying them instead of burying them, like they did at so many other bases years ago. I lived at a base like that and they issued us water filters for our kitchen sinks. Burying chemicals runs the risk that they will get into the soil and the water. That stuff has probably been down there since the Korean War, if not before then. I hope that no one gets ill from the incenerating.

Our people have made the mistake of confusing the methods with the objectives. As long as we agree on objectives, we should never fall out with each other just because we believe in different methods, or tactics, or strategy. We have to keep in mind at all times that we are not fighting for separation. We are fighting for recognition as free humans in this society
Malcolm X, 1965
Its part of the program to destroy the US stockpile of chemical weapons so that we are in line with the chemical warfare treaty.

I think that you will find Yssys that those weapons that were buried were done so before the 1960's, the preferred method in the 60's and 70's before they stopped was dumping the stuff out to sea. The cases of where the stuff is dug up, the stuff was probably buried right after WW II.

In fact we are spending money and sending people to the Former Soviet Union to help them build demil plants so that they can destroy their stockpile also. This plant in Alabama is actually one of eight being build using various methods to destory the stockpile.

The US has actually being destroying its stockpile of chemical weapons for over 15 years.
Yes jazzdog, during and just after WWII. Now since this particular base has been turned over to the city of San Antonio, TX the city has to go through great expense to clean up the industrial waste. And they are finding that it is indeed a great expense. I believe that is one of the reasons that the Feds practically gave the base to the city and forgave 80% of the incurred debt that the city had just from purchasing the base.

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