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January 29, 2013

Bechtel completes construction of chemical weapons demilitarization facility

Gerald Ondrey

Bechtel (Houston; www.bechtel.com) announced today the Bechtel Pueblo Team (BPT) has completed construction of the Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (PCAPP). The facility will eventually destroy 2,611 tons of mustard agent-filled munitions currently being stored at the U.S. Army Pueblo Chemical Depot in Colorado.

“Construction completion marks the first step towards creating a safer community for the citizens of Pueblo,” says BPT project manager Doug Omichinski. “Our main goal is not just to build and operate a plant, but to do it safely and to be environmentally compliant.”

The Dept. of Defense’s Assembled Chemical Weapons Alternatives program and community stakeholders broke ground in September 2004. During construction, craft workers hired from the Colorado Building & Construction Trades Council installed more than $200 million worth of underground utilities; redundant electrical and control systems; titanium piping and storage systems; and specialized first-of-a-kind equipment.

PCAPP is currently in the systemization phase of the chemical weapons destruction process, a period during which more than 300 associated subsystems, spread over an 85-acre site, are tested to make sure they work and function together properly. The facility is expected to go operational in 2015. Once operational, PCAPP will use a neutralization technology to destroy mustard agent, followed by a biotreatment process. PCAPP is different from other demilitarization facilities in the country in that it will dismantle individual munitions using a first-of-a-kind robotic process.

BPT, which includes Bechtel, URS, Battelle Memorial Institute, and Parsons Infrastructure and Technology, was awarded the contract in 2002, to design, build, test, operate, and close PCAPP. The team has accomplished several milestones, including exceptional achievement, or Star level, in the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Voluntary Protection Program. This program recognizes U.S. worksites that have exemplary records and demonstrate commitment to workplace safety and health. Also, in 2008, the Bechtel construction team was named “Construction Team of the Year” by its peers.

 

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