An eight-year mission is now complete to make the world a safer place. Thursday, a celebration was held as the Pueblo Chemical Depot destroyed its last chemical weapon.
This is part of an international commitment that the United States and 192 other countries made to destroy chemical stockpiles around the world, which is part of the Chemical Weapons Convention that went into effect in 1997.
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which was set up by the United Nations to implement the Chemical Weapons Convention, says its creation has been partially responsible for ridding the world of chemical weapons. The organization says 99% of the world's declared stockpile of weapons has been destroyed as of May, 2023.
In Pueblo, a team has been working to destroy more than 750,000 shells and mortars of mustard gas, and Thursday the last one was destroyed.
“The Bechtel Pueblo Team is honored to be a partner with our community, state, Pueblo Chemical Depot, and Department of Defense to design, build, test, and safely operate the innovative Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (PCAPP) facility to accomplish this feat,” said Todd Ailes, project manager, Bechtel Pueblo Team. “I am extremely proud of the dedication of our workforce and teaming partners to ensure the U.S. commitment to the Chemical Weapons Convention was met in an environmentally safe and sound manner.”
The next phase for the Pueblo Chemical Depot is closing and demolishing the site in a safe and environmentally friendly way, which should take at least four years according to the Bechtel group.
The remaining stockpile of U.S. Chemical Weapons is currently undergoing destruction at the Blue Grass Army Depot in Kentucky. The Betchel-led team there believes the destruction of the weapons will finish soon.
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