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 You are in: Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security > Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation (ISN) > Releases > Fact Sheets > 2006
Fact Sheet
Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation (ISN)
Washington, DC
April 20, 2006

U.S. Request to Extend Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) Deadline for Complete Destruction of Chemical Weapons Stocks

  • The United States is requesting an extension of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) deadline for destroying 100% of CW stocks from April 29, 2007 to April 29, 2012. (The CWC requires such a request be submitted by April 29, 2006.)
  • The U.S. remains deeply committed to the CWC and eliminating its entire stockpile of chemical weapons by the earliest possible date, in a safe and secure manner.
The U.S. Record to Date on CW Destruction
  • As of March 31, 2006 the U.S. has destroyed 10,103 metric tons of chemical agent since Entry-into-Force of the CWC, or 36.4% of its declared inventory of 27,768 metric tons, far more than all other declared CW possessors combined.
  • The U.S. has completed operations at two chemical weapons destruction facilities (CWDFs) at Johnston Island and Aberdeen, Maryland. Six other major facilities are currently operating. Site preparations are underway for construction of the final two CWDFs.
  • The U.S. met its 1% and 20% destruction deadlines early, and is working towards its 45% destruction milestone date of December 31, 2007, as extended by the OPCW.
  • The U.S. has devoted enormous resources to the effort to safely and expeditiously destroy its CW stocks, including over $1.5 billion in 2005, and a projected $32-34 billion over the lifetime of the project (for comparison – total 2005 budget for OPCW was $91.6 million).
  • Have concentrated on destroying our most lethal weapons first, specifically VX and sarin nerve agent, with over 86% of the latter already destroyed. Will finish destruction of binary agents – our most modern stocks – by the end of 2007.
Reasons for the Proposed Extension
  • Destroying the world’s 2nd largest stockpile safely is extraordinarily difficult and complex.
  • The U.S. has encountered delays in initiating operations and lower-than-planned destruction rates for reasons listed below:
    • Delays in obtaining environmental permits necessary to start operations;
    • Start-up delays due to additional community emergency preparedness requirements;
    • Longer than projected downtime for maintenance and changeover to other agents;
    • Work stoppages to investigate and resolve problems, along with reductions in throughput;
    • Development of protocols to improve operational safety; and
    • Deteriorating munitions more challenging to handle and safely destroy than anticipated.
  • The U.S. continues to improve as the program progresses, incorporating lessons learned at the start of each new facility.
Plan for Destruction During the Proposed Extension
  • The U.S. plans to incorporate lessons learned and risk mitigation measures that may accelerate the schedule of chemical agent destruction, but at this time, we do not expect to be able to meet the April 29, 2012 deadline for destruction of the U.S. declared CW stockpile.
  • Current projections indicate that four facilities will be operating past 2012 (Tooele, Anniston, Umatilla, and Pine Bluff), and two facilities that have not yet been constructed (in Pueblo and Bluegrass) are expected to commence destruction operations no earlier than 2011.
  • The U.S. has evaluated a number of alternatives to improve our CW destruction progress in order to meet the existing timelines, but has not identified at this time an option or combination of options that would result in the U.S. meeting the 2012 extended deadline.
  • The U.S. continues to seek opportunities to improve our CW destruction progress in order to complete destruction with the goal of reaching the 2012 deadline or if that is not possible completing destruction as soon as feasible thereafter.
Status of Each Main CWDF
  • Johnston Atoll Chemical Agent Disposal System has completed operations, destroying 640 metric tons of agents by November 2000.
  • Hawthorne (NV) has completed destruction of 458 metric tons of binary precursor chemicals contained in canisters in projectiles in July 1999.
  • Aberdeen (MD) Chemical Agent Disposal Facility (ABCDF) has completed operations, destroying 1472 metric tons of agent by February 2006. This facility used neutralization followed by bio-treatment to destroy mustard agent (HD) drained from ton containers.
  • Anniston (AL) Chemical Agent Disposal Facility (ANCDF) began operations in August 2003, and has destroyed by incineration all 397 metric tons of GB, with 1,648 metric tons of other agents remaining. Start-up was delayed 7 months to implement additional community emergency preparedness. Currently inactive while preparing for destruction of VX.
  • Blue Grass (KY) Chemical Agent Disposal Pilot Plant (BGCAPP) is currently in the design phase, with 475 metric tons to be destroyed. Will use neutralization, followed by supercritical water oxidation, to destroy GB, VX, and HD. Projected to start in 2011.
  • Newport (IN) Chemical Agent Disposal Facility (NECDF) began operations in May 2005 to neutralize bulk nerve agent (VX) totaling 1,152 metric tons. Resulting hydrolysate is currently stored in intermodal containers awaiting a decision on off-site treatment/disposal.
  • Pine Bluff (AR) Binary Destruction Facility (PBBDF) began operations in December 2005 to destroy DF and QL stocks totaling 161 metric tons. Using neutralization, followed by wet air oxidation, will destroy binary stocks by the end of 2007.
  • Pine Bluff (AR) Chemical Agent Disposal Facility (PBCDF) began operations in March 2005, and has destroyed 166 metric tons of GB using incineration, with 3,327 metric tons remaining. Currently inactive undergoing maintenance, expected to resume by 15 May.
  • Pueblo (CO) Chemical Agent Disposal Pilot Plant (PCAPP) is currently in the design phase, with 2,371 metric tons to be destroyed. Will use neutralization followed by biotreatment to destroy mustard agent. Projected to start in 2011.
  • Tooele (UT) Chemical Agent Disposal Facility (TOCDF) began operations in August 1996, and has destroyed 6,489 metric tons of CW since EIF using incineration, including all GB and VX, with 5,632 metric tons remaining. Facility was shut down 8 months to implement a new safety plan following an incident of worker exposure to a minute amount of agent. Currently inactive preparing for destruction of mustard agent. Contamination of some mustard stocks with mercury raises complications.
  • Umatilla (OR) Chemical Agent Disposal Facility (UMCDF) began operations in September 2004, and has destroyed 478 metric tons of GB stocks using incineration, with 2,896 metric tons remaining. Encountering delays as a result of repeated fires in the explosive containment rooms during the rocket shearing process. Steps were taken to mitigate any safety issues.

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