RICHMOND, Ky. (LEX 18)– The project to destroy the stockpile of chemical weapons housed at the Bluegrass Army Depot will begin soon.
The stockpile has been stored there since World War II.
Since the 1940s, stockpiles of chemical weapons such as mustard gas, sarin, and VX have been stored in igloos like the one at Bluegrass Army Depot. In a few months, the workers there will begin to remove the weapons and take them to newly constructed plants where they’ll be neutralized. They’ll start first with mustard gas in June.
“After being involved with the program for approximately 35 years, I’m pretty excited about how close we are now,” said Craig Williams, a member of the Governor’s Commission on Chemical Weapons Disposal.
The destruction requires precautions at every step to make sure it’s done safely. Williams, who works in many ways as a voice for the local community on the project, says he is impressed by what he’s seen.
“The emphasis on safety and redundancy on safety and professionalism of the people who are involved in this should be a great confidence builder for the region,” he said.
The project has brought about 1,200 jobs to Richmond.
Wendi Shepherd is tasked with maintenance projects in the plant, where she’ll have to wear a full protective suit.
“It’s exciting. Just to be a part of history is exciting,” she said.
When the destruction of chemical weapons is completed here in 2023, Williams said it will mean there are no other weapons of that kind in the entire country.
Community planners are also working now to create jobs for the 1,200 workers on the project, so that they stay in the area once the mission is completed.