Tooele Chemical Agent Disposal Facility
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The Tooele Chemical Agent Disposal Facility (TOCDF, also called Tooele Chemical Demilitarization Facility) or TOCDF, is a U.S. Army facility located at Deseret Chemical Depot in Tooele County, Utah that was used for dismantling chemical weapons.
Destruction is a requirement under the Chemical Weapons Convention and is monitored by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. Deseret Chemical Depot held 44% of the nation's chemical stockpile when processing began, and it had held some of these chemical munitions since 1942. TOCDF was constructed in the early 1990s and began destruction of chemical agent-filled munitions on 22 August 1996. As of September 2011, the facility had processed 99% of its stockpile. TOCDF processed all of its VX, sarin and mustard gas at its main facility; a smaller incinerator was installed west of the main plant in order to dispose of lewisite-filled containers. In advance of plant closing, two ponds were revitalized and the surrounded area reseeded as well as 29 miles of railroad being removed (out of 40-miles of rail in Deseret). Disposal of all chemical weapons concluded on 21 January 2012. It was the last depot to complete its disposal operations under the U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency; although two other depots still store chemical weapons to be destroyed by the Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives program at Pueblo, Colorado and Bluegrass, Kentucky.
Each of the weapons listed contained sarin (GB)
- 28,945 – 115mm self-propelled rockets (M55) containing 154.86 short tons
- 1,056 – M56 warheads, which are M55 rockets without the rocket motor (5.65 tons)
- 119,400 – 105mm cartridges (M360) (97.31 tons)
- 679,303 – 105mm projectiles (M360) (553.63 tons)
- 67,685 – 155mm projectiles (M121/A1) (219.98 tons)
- 21,456 – 155mm projectiles (M122) (69.73 tons)
- 888 – Weteye bombs (154.07 tons)
- 4,463 – 750-lb bombs (MC-1) (490.93 tons)
- 5,709 – Ton containers containing (4,299.10 tons)
All sarin (6,045.26 tons) was disposed of by March 2002.
After completion of the GB campaigns, the plant was converted to dispose of similar weapons containing VX agent:
- 3,966 – M55 rockets (19.83 tons)
- 3,560 – M56 rocket warheads (17.80 tons)
- 53,216 – M121/A1 155mm projectiles (159.65 tons)
- 22,690 – M23 land mines (119.12 tons)
- 862 – TMU-28 Spray Tanks (584.44 tons)
- 640 – Ton Containers (455.48 tons)
All VX (1,356.32 tons) was disposed of by 3 June 2005. Processing of VX-contaminated containers was completed in October 2005.
Mustard Agent campaign
After VX processing was completed, the plant was reconfigured to process chemical weapons containing mustard gas, also called mustard agent or H or HD or HT.
- 5,463 - Ton Containers
- 54,453 - 155mm projectiles
- 63,274 - 4.2-inch mortars
Operations to destroy mustard gas weapons were completed on 21 January 2012.
Weapons disposal process
The destruction process involves receiving the items in protective containers from a covered, protected storage area, and placing the items onto trays for insertion into the automated processing area.
Inside the first automated area, the Explosion Containment Room, explosive components are removed from the items and destroyed in a rotating kiln called the Deactivation Furnace System. The items then are carried on automated cars to another room, called the Munition Processing Bay, where automated machinery sucks the liquid agent out. The liquid is sent to holding tanks. The nearly-empty items are then moved to the lower level on an automated lift, and introduced into a high-temperature (maximum 2,000 °F or 1,100 °C) oven called the Metal Parts Furnace, which destroys the residual agent so that the containers can be safely disposed of as scrap metal.
The liquid agent is destroyed in one of two high-temperature (maximum 2,700 °F or 1,500 °C) ovens called Liquid Incinerators. The products of combustion from the ovens and kilns pass through extensive Pollution Abatement Systems, which catch the airborne products as salts, and hold them in a liquid slurry called brine, which is periodically shipped to out-of-state underground disposal facilities.
- Monthly Update, Deseret Chemical Depot, October 2010
- http://www.cma.army.mil/fndocumentviewer.aspx?DocID=003683880 Archived 2012-09-15 at the Wayback Machine, U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency, 21 January 2012
- As of October 17, 2010. see Monthly Update, Deseret Chemical Depot, 11 May 2008 http://www.cma.army.mil/fndocumentviewer.aspx?DocID=003682901
- United States National Research Council (1997). Risk Assessment and Management at Deseret Chemical Depot and the Tooele Chemical Agent Disposal Facility. Washington, D.C.: National Academies Press.