US set to destroy big chemical weapon stockpile

DENVER (AP) — The U.S. Army plans to start operating a $4.5 billion plant next week that will destroy the nation’s largest remaining stockpile of mustard agent, complying with an international treaty that bans chemical weapons, officials said Wednesday.

The largely automated plant at the military’s Pueblo Chemical Depot in southern Colorado will begin destroying about 780,000 chemical-filled artillery shells soon after this weekend, said Greg Mohrman, site manager for the plant. He declined to be specific, citing security concerns and possible last-minute delays.

“We’ve practiced a lot,” Mohrman told The Associated Press. “Next week it gets real.”

Robots will dismantle the shells, and the plant will use water and bacteria to neutralize the mustard agent, which can maim or kill by damaging skin, the eyes and airways. At full capacity, the facility can destroy an average of 500 shells a day operating around the clock. It’s expected to finish in mid-2020.

Money well spent.

As an aside, the “mustard gas” kills by essentially destroying the bone marrow of those who breathe or otherwise absorb it. The chemotherapy drug Bendamustine is of a class of drugs known as nitrogen mustards and is highly effective against blood cancers that originate in, or migrate to the bone marrow.

Thus, nitrogen mustards kill in one scenario and save in another.

This is long overdue.

We’ve been doing it for a while as part of the CWC.

It’s not really overdue if it’s according to long established schedules to get the work done. I used to support a small piece of the OPCW related work.

I remember this:

Yet it would be a mistake to regard Taoism as fatalistic and pessimistic, instead of the ultimate sophistication in optimism that it is. Controlled quantities of the bad can be good. Excessive amounts of the good can be bad. Poison kills. But when handled properly, it can cure diseases. Without poison, there can be no medicine. To employ poison to attack poison is a Taoist principle, which is validated in modern medical the practice of vaccination, the use of antibiotics and chemotherapy treatments.

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