The process of destroying America’s largest remaining stockpile of chemical weapons began on Wednesday in Colorado, more than a decade after the Defense Department approved the destruction of 780,000 shells containing 2,600 tons of mustard agent.
It will take four years to destroy the inventory leftover from World War II at Pueblo Chemical Depot in southern Colorado. The work is being scheduled under the 1997 international treaty banning all chemical weapons, and the material will be moved from a storage bunker to an airtight structure. Depot spokesman Thomas Schultz told AP that “managers don’t want to expose crews or the containers to storms.”
“Everybody’s really excited, but we’re being cautious, making sure all the procedures are followed exactly,” added Bruce Huenefeld, who is managing the first stage of weapon destruction.