Chemical Weapons Destruction: Advantages and Disadvantages of
Alternatives to Incineration (Letter Report, 03/18/94, GAO/NSIAD-94-123).

The most feasible technological alternatives to the incineration of
chemical weapons are in the initial stages of development and are more
than a decade away from becoming fully operational.  It is unlikely that
any of these technologies will be ready in time to destroy the entire
U.S. chemical weapons stockpile by the December 2204 deadline.  Any of
these alternative technologies could not, by itself, dispose of an
entire chemical weapon.  As a result, multiple technologies would have
to be developed and tested. Because the alternative technologies are in
the earliest stages of development, cost estimates are either
nonexistent or unreliable. Similarly, their performance cannot be
compared with that of incineration.  GAO did, however, identify
advantages and disadvantages to each technology.  This report also
discusses the operational safety of the Army's incineration facility on
Johnston Atoll and the cryofracture process, which involves soaking
munitions in liquid oxygen to make them brittle.  The munitions are then
crushed in a large hydraulic press before being incinerated. GAO
summarized this report in testimony before Congress; see Chemical
Weapons: Issues Involving Destruction Technologies, by David R. Warren,
Associate Director for Defense Management and NASA Issues, before the
Subcommittee on Nuclear Deterrence, Arms Control, and Defense
Intelligence, Senate Committee on Armed Services.  GAO/T-NSIAD-94-159,
Apr. 26, 1994 (23 pages).

--------------------------- Indexing Terms -----------------------------

     TITLE:  Chemical Weapons Destruction: Advantages and Disadvantages 
             of Alternatives to Incineration
      DATE:  03/18/94
   SUBJECT:  Chemical warfare
             Property disposal
             Army facilities
             Waste disposal
             Environmental impact statements
             Systems evaluation
             Cost analysis
             Technology transfer
             Research and development
IDENTIFIER:  Anniston (AL)
             Army Chemical Munitions Stockpile Disposal Program
             Johnston Atoll Chemical Agent Disposal System
             GB Nerve Gas
             VX Nerve Gas
             Mustard Gas
             Aberdeen (MD)
             Pine Bluff (AR)
             Tooele (UT)
             Rocky Mountain Arsenal (CO)
             Chemical Weapons Convention
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================================================================ COVER

Report to the Chairman, Subcommittee on Environment, Energy, and
Natural Resources, Committee on Government Operations, House of

March 1994



Chemical Weapons Destruction

=============================================================== ABBREV

  EPA - Environmental Protection Agency
  NRC - National Research Council

=============================================================== LETTER


March 18, 1994

The Honorable Mike Synar,
Chairman, Subcommittee on Environment,
 Energy, and Natural Resources
Committee on Government Operations
House of Representatives

Dear Mr.  Chairman: 

As requested, we have reviewed selected technological disposal
processes that may be alternatives to the incineration of chemical
weapons.  Specifically, we evaluated the development status of these
alternative technologies with respect to meeting the legal deadlines
for destroying the chemical weapons stockpile, the cost of the
technologies, and their performance characteristics compared to

------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :1

The alternative disposal technologies identified as most likely to be
feasible are in the initial stages of development and over a decade
away from full-rate operations.  It is unlikely that any of these
technologies will reach maturity in time to destroy the entire U.S. 
chemical weapons stockpile by the congressionally mandated deadline
of December 31, 2004. 

A recent National Research Council (NRC) report, Recommendations for
the Disposal of Chemical Agents and Munitions, advocates concurrent
development (beginning operations before completing development,
testing, and evaluation) of neutralization and one of three other
combinations of alternative technologies for use in destroying bulk
agent at two storage sites.  The report also indicates that this
approach may achieve full-rate operations by the congressional
deadline.  However, experience with concurrent development in the
government arena shows that it carries certain inherent
risks--especially when complex or novel technologies are involved--in
terms of technical performance, permit delays, testing delays, and
increased cost.  We are concerned about counting on concurrency
resulting in an alternative to the current incineration technology. 
In addition, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has stated
that any alternative technology would have to undergo the same type
of rigorous analysis and evaluation that the chemical weapons
incineration process has gone through--a process that has required at
least 9 years. 

Because these technologies are in the earliest stages of development,
cost estimates are either nonexistent or unreliable.  Similarly,
their performance compared with incineration cannot be determined
yet.  If development of these technologies began this year, and
concurrent development was not used, it could take until about 2007
to 2011 before they could be used to begin destroying the chemical
weapons stockpile.  These dates are based on NRC estimates that
include such factors as research, development, design, testing, and

Each alternative technology has certain disadvantages that must be
overcome.  In addition, any one of these technologies would not be
sufficient, by itself, to dispose of an entire chemical weapon.  For
example, a given alternative technology might destroy the chemical
agent but not destroy or decontaminate the body of the munition. 
This means multiple alternative technologies would be necessary,
which could result in considerable program delays and additional

EPA has testified that the Army's current disposal program fully
complies with or surpasses EPA requirements for environmental and
public health protection.  The incinerator at the Army's Johnston
Atoll facility is meeting EPA incineration emissions standards.  Its
emissions are continuously monitored for chemical agent release, and
its destruction and removal efficiency is significantly higher than
that of commercial hazardous waste incinerators.  While the Johnston
Atoll facility has had mechanical and training problems, which have
slowed its destruction rates, there have been no reported problems
associated with destroying the chemical agent within EPA

------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :2

The Army is the custodian of the United States' 25,000-ton stockpile
of unitary chemical weapons, currently stored at eight sites in the
United States and at Johnston Atoll in the Pacific.  (App.  I shows
the storage locations in the continental United States.) The weapons
include projectiles, mines, and rockets that contain three types of
lethal chemical agents:  GB, VX, and H.  GB and VX are nerve agents
that disrupt the nervous system and usually cause death.  The H
series of agents, commonly called mustard, blister the skin and can
lead to death with exposure to large doses.  Chemical agents are also
stored in bulk containers. 

From 1970 through 1976, the Army destroyed chemical weapons and
agents by incineration and neutralization at Rocky Mountain Arsenal,
Colorado.  However, the neutralization technology proved to have
several drawbacks, and the Army began searching for an alternative
technology.  In 1979, the Army built a prototype high-temperature
baseline incineration facility at Tooele, Utah.  (See the glossary
for a definition of baseline incineration.) The Army chose baseline
incineration in 1981 as the best and safest method for destroying
chemical weapons.  In 1984, NRC endorsed this choice. 

In 1985, the Army began construction of a fully integrated baseline
incineration facility at Johnston Atoll.  Today, the Johnston Atoll
facility is close to reaching full-rate operations.  A second
high-temperature incineration plant at Tooele, Utah, is undergoing
systemization testing, and the Army expects it to begin disposal
operations by 1995.  The Army plans to build seven more facilities at
the other chemical weapons storage sites in the continental United

The fiscal year 1993 Defense Authorization Act (P.L.  102-484)
requires that the Department of Defense destroy the U.S.  stockpile
of chemical weapons and agents by December 31, 2004.  Previous
legislation had established earlier deadlines.  In January 1993, the
United States signed the United Nations-sponsored Chemical Weapons
Convention, an international treaty that is intended to prohibit the
production, stockpiling, and use of chemical weapons.  If the treaty
is ratified by the U.S.  Senate, the deadline for destroying the
stockpile could be as early as 2005.\1 The treaty also includes a
provision for a 5-year extension, which would extend the deadline to
about 2010.  Leaders of the Russian Federation have indicated they
will ask for the extension. 

Since the Army established its program in 1988, about $1.5 billion
has been expended.  Currently, the total program life-cycle cost is
projected to be $8.6 billion through 2004, which is an increase of
406 percent from the original estimate.  (Apps.  II and III contain
additional cost data.) The Army has testified that program costs
could continue to rise over the life of the program for any of the
following possible reasons:  design changes, permit delays, more
stringent regulatory requirements imposed by the states or federal
government, schedule extensions, and additional costs of plant
closures and dismantling. 

Army studies state that the risks posed by continued chemical weapon
storage, while very small, far exceed the risk of disposal.  For
example, a MITRE Corporation report, entitled Assessment of the U.S. 
Chemical Weapons Stockpile:  Integrity and Risk Analysis (July 1993),
states that the condition of the stockpile can be expected to degrade
with time, increasing the risks posed by continued storage.  The
greatest risk from the chemical weapons stockpile is to communities
located near the storage sites.  The number of people within about 6
miles of various chemical weapons storage sites ranges from 101 in
Tooele, Utah, to 44,054 in Aberdeen, Maryland. 

Public opposition to incineration has come from several citizens
groups, states, and environmental organizations.  They have raised
concerns about incineration because of questions about adverse health
effects, such as birth defects, respiratory diseases, neurological
damage, and cancer.  The linkage between these health problems and
incineration is still being researched and debated.  For example,
dioxins and furans have been linked to cancer and other long-term
health problems.\2

As a result of growing opposition to incineration, Congress, in the
fiscal year 1993 Defense Authorization Act, directed the Army to
submit a report on potential technological alternatives to chemical
weapons incineration.  Congress also directed the Army to utilize
studies by NRC in preparing the report.  In June 1993, NRC published
its first report, entitled Alternative Technologies for the
Destruction of Chemical Agents and Munitions.  A second NRC study,
Recommendations for the Disposal of Chemical Agents and Munitions,
was published in February 1994.  The Army is scheduled to provide its
required report to Congress 60 days after this second NRC report. 
The Army's report must include: 

  an analysis of the NRC's reports and recommendations;

  a comparison of the baseline disassembly and incineration process
     with each alternative technology recommended by NRC in terms of
     safety, environmental protection, and cost effectiveness; and

  the date the alternative technology will be ready for full-rate
     destruction and demilitarization operations. 

\1 The Chemical Weapons Convention enters into force 180 days after
the 65th signatory country has ratified the treaty, but no earlier
than January 1995.  Signatory countries will have 10 years from the
date the treaty enters into force to comply. 

\2 Chemical Weapons Destruction:  Issues Related to Environmental
Permitting and Testing Experience (GAO/T-NSIAD-92-43, June 16, 1992). 

------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :3

The alternative technologies we reviewed would require at least
13 years--until 2007--to proceed sequentially through all stages of
development and reach maturity.  For example, two technologies often
mentioned as feasible alternatives to incineration--steam
gasification and plasma arc pyrolysis--are at the conceptual design
stage of development, according to several authoritative sources.  It
is estimated either of these alternatives would take about 13 to 16.5
years to reach full-rate operations capacity. 

Table 1 shows how long it would take eight alternative technologies
to reach maturity.  The table also lists the companies developing
these technologies.  (See app.  IV for information on the advantages
and disadvantages of each technology.) Table 2 summarizes the various
stages involved from development through systemization for an
alternative disposal technology and the estimated time required for
each stage. 

                           Table 1
           Estimated Year for Alternative Disposal
               Technologies to Reach Full-Rate

               year to reach
               full-rate      Companies and organizations
Technology     operations\a   involved in development
-------------  -------------  ------------------------------
Molten salt    2007 to 2008   Rockwell International, Canoga
oxidation                     Park, Calif.

Fluidized      2007 to 2008   Chemical Waste Management,
bed oxidation                 Inc., Geneva, Ill.

Molten metal   2007 to 2008   Molten Metal Technologies,
pyrolysis                     Cambridge, Mass.; Elkem
                              Technology, Oslo, Norway

Plasma arc     2007 to 2011   Plasma Energy Applied
pyrolysis                     Technology, Inc., Huntsville,

Steam          2007 to 2011   Synthetica Technologies, Inc.,
gasification                  Richmond, Calif.

Wet air        2007 to 2008   Zimpro Passavant Environmental
oxidation                     Systems, Inc., Rothschild,

               2007 to 2008   General Atomics, San Diego,
Supercritical                 Calif.; MODAR, Inc., Natick,
water                         Mass.; Modell Development,
oxidation                     Inc., Framingham, Mass.

Chemical       2007 to 2008   Highly Filled Materials
neutralizatio                 Institute, Stevens Institute
n                             of Technology, Hoboken, N.J.;
                              Toxco, Inc., Claremont,
                              Calif.; Bovar Corp., Houston,
\a GAO estimates are based upon the stage of development each
technology has reached, as determined by NRC.  The estimates assume
(1) 1994 as the starting year and (2) a sequential rather than
concurrent development approach. 

                           Table 2
                Time Estimates for Alternative
              Technologies to Complete Stages of

Stage of development           Estimated years required
-----------------------------  -----------------------------
Laboratory data development    1 to 2

Conceptual design              0.5

Pilot plant                    4.5 to 6

Demonstration                  3

Design, construction, and      5

Total                          14 to 16.5
Note:  The time estimates assume a sequential development approach. 

Source:  NRC. 

NRC, in its February 1994 report, stated that the time estimates for
various research and development efforts could be reduced if they
were performed concurrently.  For example, the full-scale
demonstration plant could be built while work at the pilot plant was
still under way.  NRC acknowledged that there would be some financial
risk in this approach, but stated that some alternatives, given sound
management and sufficient funding, could be developed and
demonstrated in as little as 5 to 7 years. 

NRC recommended consideration of the following alternative technology
combinations, all based upon neutralization at the chemical weapons
storage sites at Edgewood, Maryland, and Newport, Indiana: 

  neutralization followed by incineration;

  neutralization followed by wet air oxidation, followed by
     biological oxidation;

  neutralization followed by supercritical water oxidation; and

  neutralization followed by biological treatment. 

We have some concerns about using a concurrent development approach. 
Specifically, a concurrent schedule may not be possible because of
constraints such as (1) lengthy mandatory EPA reviews and analysis of
technical performance, (2) the need to demonstrate the technology to
show it meets EPA standards for protecting public health and the
environment, and (3) state permitting. 

Furthermore, a concurrent development approach does not seem
consistent with the sequential development approach that has been
used by the Army in developing the baseline incineration process for
use at the Johnston Atoll and Tooele, Utah, facilities.  Baseline
incineration has faced rigorous, lengthy testing and permitting to
ensure technical performance and compliance with EPA requirements. 
EPA points out that any alternative technology would have to undergo
the same type of demanding testing, analysis, and evaluation that the
baseline incineration process did--which took many years.  The
failure of a given technology in a full-scale test is conceivable. 
The Office of Technology Assessment has concluded that it is also
possible that alternative technologies may not prove to be any better
or may even prove to be worse than incineration.  Moreover, the
development of multiple technologies could significantly add to the
cost of the disposal program if development problems and delays were

In the past the Army has underestimated the amount of time it would
take state regulatory agencies to review and approve environmental
permit applications.  For example, although Army schedules have
generally allowed 2 years for the processing of permit applications,
state officials told us that the total time required to process
permits for the Anniston and Pine Bluff facilities will likely exceed
3 years.\3

\3 Chemical Weapons Destruction:  Issues Affecting Program Cost,
Schedule, and Performance (GAO/NSIAD-93-50, Jan.  21, 1993). 

------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :4

According to industry officials, in the initial stages of research
and development of a complex technology, there are too many unknown
factors to be able to make reliable cost estimates.  NRC conducted a
nation-wide search for companies involved in developing alternative
disposal technologies, but 70 percent of the companies responding to
the NRC solicitation for information did not offer any cost data. 
The cost estimates that were furnished were characterized as very
rough and could be considered only partial at that time.  The
following are examples of the cost data furnished: 

  One company reported that its demonstration model and test program
     would cost an estimated $1.8 million.  A pilot plant had an
     estimated equipment cost of $3 million, with an operating cost
     of $7,500 per 1,000 kilograms. 

  Another company stated that operations and maintenance costs ranged
     from $1 to $10 per 1,000 gallons and other capital costs were
     $2.5 million to $10 million depending upon capacity. 

We attempted to obtain more detailed and complete cost estimates, but
companies were reluctant to provide them.  The companies told us that
they could not furnish reliable cost estimates until they had
researched and developed their processes through the pilot plant
stage, which would be years away. 

Army officials told us the federal government would most likely have
to pay for the development costs of the alternative disposal

------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :5

None of the potential alternative technologies we reviewed would
alone be able to render the entire weapon--chemical agent, explosive,
metal parts, and dunnage--unusable and decontaminated, as required by
the Chemical Weapons Convention.  In contrast, baseline incineration
will destroy the entire weapon by itself.  (See table 3.)

                           Table 3
             Destruction Capabilities of Baseline
                 Incineration and Alternative

                  Chemical  Explosives/   Metal
Technology        agent?    propellants?  parts?    Dunnage?
----------------  --------  ------------  --------  --------
Baseline          Yes       Yes           Yes       Yes

Molten salt       Yes       Yes           No        No

Fluidized bed     Yes       Yes           No        No

Molten metal      Yes       Yes           Yes       No

Plasma arc        Yes       No            No        No

Steam             Yes       No            No        No

Wet air           Yes       Yes           No        No

Supercritical     Yes       Yes           No        No
water oxidation

Chemical          Yes       No            No        No
According to NRC, multiple alternative technologies would be needed
to destroy the weapons.  NRC provided the following example to
illustrate how multiple technologies would need to be combined: 

  chemical hydrolysis might be used to detoxify the chemical agent
     drained from the munitions;

  the product of this process might then be oxidized by supercritical
     water oxidation;

  the effluent of this step might require further treatment, for
     example, in a catalytic oxidizer, before release to the
     environment; and

  still other alternative technologies would be required to destroy
     or detoxify agent residue in the remainder of the munition, and
     destroy or decontaminate the explosive and dunnage. 

Another possible option to destroying or decontaminating the
remainder of the munition is to use incineration in place of other
alternative technologies. 

------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :6

The Army has stated that while it is destroying the stockpile, its
primary concern is the protection of the health and safety of the
workers, the public, and the environment.  After the Army conducted
operational verification tests at the Johnston Atoll facility from
1990 through 1993, independent oversight contractors--for both EPA
and the Army--concluded in their reports that the baseline
incineration equipment generally operated safely and within
environmental rules and regulations. 

One problem the Johnston Atoll facility did experience was some
schedule slippage because of maintenance downtime.  This was due to
technical and mechanical problems with various equipment and the need
for more training of certain personnel.\4 These problems did not
affect the Army's ability to destroy or decontaminate chemical
weapons within EPA's standards--just the rate at which destruction
occurred.  (For additional information on baseline incineration, see
app.  V.)

EPA's Deputy Director, Office of Solid Waste, has testified before
Congress that the Army's disposal program fully complies with or
surpasses EPA requirements for environmental and public health
protection.  It is EPA's position that the Johnston Atoll liquid
incinerator has the cleanest organic emissions of any incinerator in
the United States.  We are reviewing operations of the incineration
facility at Johnston Atoll and will be reporting our findings in the

The liquid incinerator's extremely high temperature--above 2,550
degrees Fahrenheit--results in a destruction and removal efficiency
of chemical agent that is 1,000 times higher than that of a
same-sized commercial hazardous waste incinerator.  Destruction and
removal efficiency refers to the extent to which the principal
organic hazardous constituent--in this case chemical agent--is
destroyed.  Commercial incinerators, which generally do not operate
at temperatures greater than 1,800 degrees, typically achieve a
destruction and removal efficiency of about 99.997 percent, whereas
Johnston Atoll's liquid incinerator has achieved an efficiency of
99.9999997 percent.\5 In addition, according to EPA, the incineration
facility is continuously monitored for chemical agent release, even
when it is not running. 

Recently, two alterations to the baseline incineration process have
been considered--charcoal filter beds or a hold, test, and release
system.  In February 1994, NRC recommended the study of activated
charcoal filter beds as an addition to the baseline incineration
process.  The Army and EPA also endorse the addition of charcoal
filter beds to baseline incineration because it would further
eliminate the risk of toxic air emissions, and perhaps bring about
greater public confidence.  However, these organizations do not
consider the hold, test, and release system attractive because of its
size, complexity, and cost.  (See app.  VI for the advantages and
disadvantages of these two alterations.)

Army officials estimated that the destruction of the chemical weapon
stockpile will be completed by 2003.  This estimate does not reflect
(1) the actual destruction rates achieved during the operational
verification testing at the Johnston Atoll facility or (2) unknown
problems obtaining environmental permits from the states. 

\4 Chemical Weapons Destruction:  Issues Affecting Cost, Schedule,
and Performance (GAO/NSIAD-93-50, Jan.  21, 1993). 

\5 For example, if 1 ton of material is fed into an incinerator that
achieves a destruction and removal efficiency of 99.997 percent, 0.06
pounds remain undestroyed.  However, if the same amount is fed into
an incinerator with a destruction and removal efficiency of
99.9999997 percent, only 0.000006 pounds remain undestroyed. 

------------------------------------------------------------ Letter :7

We conducted our work at (1) the Departments of Defense and the Army,
Washington, D.C.; (2) U.S.  Army Chemical Materiel Destruction
Agency, Edgewood, Maryland; (3) National Research Council,
Washington, D.C.; (4) Environmental Protection Agency and other
federal agencies, Washington, D.C.; and (5) companies identified by
NRC as being involved in the development of alternative technologies. 
We did not seek to identify all the companies that were involved in
developing these technologies.  Instead, we relied upon information
companies sent to NRC and data we gathered in interviewing selected

The scope of our review included evaluation of the technology
involved in the Army's baseline incineration process, but not a
review of the weapons disassembly process.  Also, our scope did not
include mechanical changes--such as cryofracture--to the incineration

Cost estimate data was largely based upon information provided by
34 companies to NRC in June 1992.  We also met with officials of two
companies and asked for up-to-date cost estimate information. 
However, they were unable to provide additional cost data because
they needed more time to develop their technology before they could
provide reliable cost estimates.  We were told by knowledgeable
industry officials that reliable cost information would not be
available in the early stages of research and development. 

We also interviewed concerned citizens, representatives of
environmental groups, and state officials.  We gathered and analyzed
data, including correspondence, agency documents, laws and
regulations, computerized data bases, previous GAO reports, and
reports by other government agencies, environmental groups, NRC, and
private companies. 

We performed our review from December 1992 through December 1993 in
accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards.  As
requested, we did not obtain written agency comments on this report. 
However, we discussed our findings with Defense and Army officials
and have included their comments where appropriate.  These officials
generally agreed with the information presented in this report. 

---------------------------------------------------------- Letter :7.1

Unless you announce the contents of this report earlier, we plan no
further distribution of it for 30 days from its issue date.  At that
time, we will send copies to the Chairmen of the Senate and House
Committees on Armed Services and on Appropriations and the Senate
Committee on Governmental Affairs; the Director, Office of Management
and Budget; the Secretaries of Defense and the Army; and other
interested parties.  We will also provide copies to others upon

Please contact me at (202) 512-8412 if you or your staff have any
questions concerning this report.  The major contributors to this
report are listed in appendix VII. 

Sincerely yours,

Donna M.  Heivilin
Director, Defense Management
 and NASA Issues

=========================================================== Appendix I

   (See figure in printed

========================================================== Appendix II

                          Table II.1
            Army's Estimated Life-Cycle Costs for
           the Chemical Stockpile Disposal Program

                    (Dollars in billions)

             Life-   Dollar  Percent  Cumulative  Cummulativ
        cycle cost  increas  increas      dollar   e percent
Year\a    estimate        e        e    increase    increase
------  ----------  -------  -------  ----------  ----------
1985          $1.7
1986           2.0     $0.3       18        $0.3          18
1988           3.4      1.4       70         1.7         100
1991           6.5      3.1       91         4.8         282
1992           7.9      1.4       22         6.2         365
1993           8.6      0.7        9         6.9         406
\a The Army did not calculate life-cycle cost estimates in 1987,
1989, and 1990. 

   Figure II.1:  Growth in the
   Estimated Life-Cycle Costs

   (See figure in printed

Source:  GAO analysis of Army data. 

========================================================= Appendix III

   (See figure in printed

Note:  Funding levels for fiscal years 1988 through 1993 are actual;
funding levels for fiscal years 1994 through 2004 are planned. 

Source:  GAO analysis of Army budget data. 

========================================================== Appendix IV

To compile information on the advantages and disadvantages of
alternative technologies, we interviewed various knowledgeable people
and analyzed numerous sources of information.  Some of the major
sources were:  (1) Recommendations for the Disposal of Chemical
Agents and Munitions (NRC, Feb.  4, 1994); (2) Alternative
Technologies for the Destruction of Chemical Agents and Munitions
(NRC, June 10, 1993); (3) Disposal of Chemical Weapons:  Alternative
Technologies (Office of Technology Assessment, July 1992); (4)
Alternative Technologies for the Detoxification of Chemical Weapons: 
An Information Document (Greenpeace International, May 24, 1991); (5)
briefings, reports, and information from companies identified by NRC
as being involved in the development of alternative technologies; (6)
data and information we gathered from companies involved in the
development of alternative technologies; (7) interviews, reports, and
testimony by the Army; and (8) our previous reports.  The advantages
and disadvantages listed in this appendix are not intended to be

Description of
technology            Advantages                    Disadvantages
--------------------  ----------------------------  ----------------------------
Molten salt           --A private company, using    --The possibility of
oxidation: Combines   Army personnel, has           superheated vapor explosions
chemical and thermal  considerable laboratory       is a safety hazard.
treatment. Wastes     experience and expertise,
and oxygen are fed    testing with small amounts    --During tests on mustard
into a bath of        of mustard agent and dunnage  agent, small amounts of
molten caustic salt-  since 1950.                   nitric oxides, organically
-usually sodium                                     bound chlorine, and traces
carbonate or a        --No mustard was detected in  of hydrocarbons were found
mixture of sodium     gas emissions, and            in gas emissions, which
and potassium         destruction and removal       could adversely impact the
carbonate. The        efficiency was very high.     environment.
wastes are oxidized,
typically producing                                 --The salts removed from the
emissions of carbon                                 molten salt bath will
dioxide, water,                                     contain all the normal salts
nitrogen, and                                       produced by incineration
oxygen; ash and soot                                (sodium fluoride, chloride,
are retained in the                                 sulfate, etc.). The total
melt. Salt can later                                volume will exceed that of
be removed for                                      incineration because of
disposal                                            unreacted material from the
or for processing                                   salt bath. These salts are
and recycling.                                      all soluble and will have to
                                                    be treated as toxic waste in
                                                    a landfill.

                                                    --The long-term mechanical
                                                    operability of the molten
                                                    salt oxidation reactor has
                                                    not been demonstrated, and
                                                    problems may occur.

Fluidized bed         --Proven technology in        --Difficult to achieve
combustion: Uses      civilian hazardous waste      desired destruction and
fluidized, granular   incinerators.                 removal efficiency for
solid as heat                                       chemical agents.
transfer medium. For  --Allows rapid start-up and
chemical agent        shutdown of feed stream,
destruction, solid    increasing safety.
of choice would be
aluminum oxide or     --Use of slurry reduces
calcium oxide. The    concern for explosion when
material is kept      destroying propellants and
suspended by gas      explosives.
flow, which is
primarily air.

Molten metal          --Molten metal furnace could  --Gases from the furnace
pyrolysis: Involves   combine functions of three    would likely be very dirty,
use of metals, such   of the incinerators used in   containing soot from the
as copper, iron, or   the current technology.       metal pyrolysis and possibly
cobalt, at 3,000                                    some slag particulate
degrees Fahrenheit,                                 matter. Separate purifier
to decompose organic                                unit would be needed to
compounds like                                      clean gas before it is
chemical agent.                                     released.

                                                    --Gases from the furnace are
                                                    combustible organic
                                                    materials which must be
                                                    burned in a separate
                                                    afterburner or furnace.

Plasma arc            --Short start-up and          --The arc furnaces produce a
pyrolysis: Involves   shutdown times, increasing    combustible gas that would
passing an electric   safety.                       require a secondary burner
current through a                                   and gas clean-up system just
low-pressure                                        as with normal incineration.
airstream to split
chemical agent into                                 --Costly labor-intensive
its atomic elements                                 operations.
in a thermal plasma
field at a very high
temperature, e.g.
10,000 degrees

Steam gasification:   --May be operated as a        --Another technology would
Organic materials     closed-loop system; waste     be required because the
are treated with      streams are stored until      products of the process
super-heated steam    chemical analysis             would require further
under reducing        establishes their             oxidation.
conditions to         suitability for disposal.
produce simple                                      --Possible air leakage could
organic molecules.                                  lead to fires.
Also known as
reformation.                                        --Chemical agents would be
                                                    particularly difficult to
                                                    handle because of their
                                                    large content of elements
                                                    such as fluorine and
                                                    phosphorous (in GB),
                                                    nitrogen and phosphorous (in
                                                    VX), and chlorine (in
                                                    mustard). A large
                                                    development effort is

                                                    --Requires significant
                                                    costly energy usage.

                                                    --Suitable cooling should be
                                                    used to safely remove heat
                                                    of reaction.

Wet air oxidation:    --Approximately 200           --High operating pressure
Based on principle    municipal and hazardous       could result in potentially
that organic          waste plants use this         dangerous chemical agent
compounds can be      technology worldwide.         leaks.
oxidized slowly
at temperatures that  --An effective way of         --A major containment
are low compared      oxidizing organic matter in   structure would be needed,
with normal           dilute aqueous solution.      adding greatly to capital
combustion            Thus, it could be             costs and construction
temperatures          particularly useful for the   times.
(e.g. 572 degrees     case where agent is first
Fahrenheit versus     chemically detoxified,        --The liquid product will
3,632                 resulting in an aqueous       contain appreciable
degrees Fahrenheit).  solution requiring further    concentrations of organic
The oxidation is      oxidation.                    compounds such as acetic
carried out at high                                 acid; while they are non-
pressure, e.g. 1,000  --It has been tested with a   toxic, they will require
per                   number of insecticides, and   further treatment before
square inch, in the   fungicides having chemical    release of the water to the
presence of water.    compositions that resemble    environment.
                      those of chemical weapons.
                                                    --Gas emissions contain
                                                    appreciable concentrations
                                                    of volatile organic
                                                    compounds and will require
                                                    additional treatment before
                                                    release to the atmosphere.

                                                    --Corrosion is a concern,
                                                    possibly affecting
                                                    structural integrity of the

Supercritical water   --The aim of supercritical    --High operating pressure
oxidation: Involves   water oxidation is to have    could result in potentially
mixing chemical       complete oxidation, with no   dangerous leaks.
agents with water     products of incomplete
that has been         combustion                    --Because feedstock may only
pressurized and       remain in solution.           contain a maximum of 20
heated to a point at                                percent agent, the amount of
which organic         --Liquid effluent may be      liquid wastes is greatly
compounds become      collected and analyzed, then  increased.
soluble. (Above 705   recycled if found harmful
degrees Fahrenheit,   to the environment.           --A major containment
and a pressure above                                structure would be needed,
221 atmospheres, or   --A private company has       adding greatly to capital
3,205 pounds per      experience testing the        costs and construction
square inch.)         technology with dilute        times.
Solution is           solutions of GB and VX nerve
oxidized at an        agents, and it achieved a     --Problems with corrosion of
elevated              very high destruction and     parts and salt formation
temperature,          removal efficiency using a    inside reactor chamber may
producing carbon      laboratory-sized reactor.     adversely affect facility
dioxide and                                         operations.
inorganic             --It would be particularly
acids and salts.      useful with a feed
                      consisting of products from
                      a previous detoxification
                      step; the detoxified
                      material would be in dilute
                      aqueous solution, the form
                      required for supercritical
                      water oxidation.

Chemical              --Army has experience in      --The products of the
neutralization:       chemically neutralizing GB    process are not suitable for
Involves mixing       nerve agent. The Canadians    release to the environment,
chemical agents with  have recent experience in     they must be oxidized to
other substances to   neutralizing small amounts    final stable materials that
form less toxic       of nerve                      are suitable for release.
compounds. An         agents GA, GB, and VX, and
example of this       the                           --By-products of the process
process is            chemical agent lewisite.      are extremely variable,
hydrolysis--the                                     which can cause problematic
breakdown             --Because no appreciable      emissions.
of a chemical agent   exhaust
by water.             gases are released, there is  --Process is slow compared
                      no need for                   to incineration.
                      a complex pollution
                      abatement system.             --Mustard agent and VX are
                                                    hard to neutralize; other
                      --Would produce smaller       technologies may be
                      amounts of gaseous            necessary for disposal.
                                                    --Because feedstock may only
                      --Low operating pressure      contain a maximum of 20
                      reduces risk                  percent agent (for VX and
                      of potentially dangerous      mustard), the amount of
                      leakage.                      liquid wastes is greatly
                      --Avoids formation of
                      dioxins, furans,              --The time required to
                      and other undesirable         develop a neutralization-
                      products from chlorinated     based process for use at any
                      compounds because of low      specific site may be 3 to 5
                      operating temperature.        years longer than for
                                                    baseline incineration.

=========================================================== Appendix V

Description of
technology            Advantages                    Disadvantages
--------------------  ----------------------------  ----------------------------
Baseline              --Can destroy or              --Many health effects are
incineration:         decontaminate the             still unknown. Over 17,000
An engineering        entire munition, so no other  papers on dioxins have been
process that employs  technologies                  published without settling
thermal               are needed.                   controversies about human
decomposition via                                   health effects.
thermal oxidation at  --Is the only fully
high temperature to   developed process to dispose  --Complex pollution
destroy the organic   of chemical weapons.          abatement systems needed to
portion of the waste                                remove particulates and acid
and reduce volume.    --Substantial design and      gases.
                      operational experience
Chemical weapons are  exists.                       --Combustion problems could
drained of chemical                                 increase emission of
agent and             --Has been used by the        products of incomplete
disassembled, then    United States, United         combustion.
component parts are   Kingdom, Canada, and Russia
sent to one of four   as                            --Many citizens and
incinerators:         a means of disposing of       environmental groups believe
(1) agent is pumped   chemical                      there are risks to the
from holding tanks    weapons.                      public and the environment.
to a liquid
incinerator, (2)      --Has been thoroughly tested  --Visible exhaust plume from
casings are           with all chemical agents.     stack could be
decontaminated in a                                 misinterpreted by public as
metal parts furnace,  --Thus far has fully          hazardous pollutants.
(3) explosives and    complied with or surpassed
propellants are       EPA requirements for
burned in             environmental and public
a deactivation        health
furnace, and (4)      protection.
packing materials
are burned in a       --Capable of a high degree
dunnage incinerator.  of destruction--has
Each furnace          demonstrated destruction and
possesses its own     removal efficiency of
pollution abatement   99.9999997 percent with
system, all of which  nerve agent.
lead to a common
exhaust stack.        --Can decontaminate metal
                      parts to a level where they
                      can be sold to the public as

                      --Process is irreversible,
                      thus satisfying terms of the
                      Chemical Weapons Convention.

========================================================== Appendix VI

Description of
process               Advantages                    Disadvantages
--------------------  ----------------------------  ----------------------------
Charcoal filter       --The addition of filters     --About $200 to $300 million
beds:                 could instill a greater       would be added to the
A bank of several     level of public confidence,   program's estimated life-
activated charcoal    as it would virtually         cycle cost.
filters would be      eliminate the risk of toxic
added to the end of   air emissions.                --Incinerator exhaust gases
the baseline                                        must be cooled and
incineration          --Carbon filtration has been  dehumidified to a
process. The filters  used successfully in both     temperature and humidity
would catch any       Germany and Italy.            similar to building
particulates,                                       ventilation conditions to
products of           --A similar filter system is  ensure effective
incomplete            already used                  filtration.
combustion, or        on the ventilation system at
chemical agent that   the Army's Johnston Atoll     --Cooled exhaust gases will
might make it         facility and would be used    generate additional
through the           at all subsequent facilities  wastewater to be managed.
pollution abatement   in the continental united
system.               States                        --Care must be taken to
                                                    avoid fires; temperatures
                      --Such a system is            must be carefully monitored
                      commercially available and    and controlled.
                      would require minimal
                      testing.                      --Poor removal efficiency
                                                    due to leakage around or
                      --Gas cooling and             through the carbon beds.
                      condensation would eliminate
                      visible exhaust plume.        --Loss of adsorption
                                                    capacity if water contacts
                      --Should greatly reduce       the charcoal.
                      false alarms
                      from exhaust monitors.

Hold, test, and       --The addition of a hold,     --Cost for capability to
release:              test, and release system      hold emissions for 8 hours
Involves collecting   could instill a greater       is estimated at $250 million
incinerator           level of public confidence,   per site, adding about $2.25
emissions in several  as it would virtually         billion to the program's
large collapsible     eliminate the risk of toxic   estimated life-cycle cost.
holding tanks. Once   air emissions.                To more thoroughly analyze
filled, a tank's                                    emissions, they must be held
contents would be     --Holding tanks are           for 48 to 72 hours,
analyzed for toxic    commercially available.       resulting in at least a six-
substances. If safe,                                fold cost increase.
the tank would be     --Gas cooling and
emptied to the        condensation would eliminate  --Incinerators would require
atmosphere. If not,   visible exhaust plume.        substantial engineering
then the tank's                                     redesign for treatment of
contents would be                                   contaminated emissions.
recycled through the
afterburner.                                        --This process is not being
                                                    used on any incinerator in
                                                    the world.

                                                    --Liquid would condense
                                                    within the tank once the
                                                    emissions cool, which also
                                                    must be analyzed and managed
                                                    in a wastewater treatment

                                                    --If emissions are found to
                                                    be contaminated, then both
                                                    the tank and its contents
                                                    must be decontaminated.

========================================================= Appendix VII


David R.  Warren, Associate Director
John R.  Henderson, Assistant Director
David W.  Rowan, Evaluator-in-Charge
Diane Blake Harper, Evaluator
David F.  Keefer, Evaluator
Thomas W.  Gosling, Editor

============================================================ Chapter 0

-------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:0.1

A device for burning unburned or partially burned compounds in

-------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:0.2

Made from, with, or by water. 

-------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:0.3

A high-temperature incineration process involving a disassembly
procedure that breaks down munitions into their component part.  Once
disassembled, the chemical agent and the munition components are
burned separately in four furnaces. 

-------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:0.4

An act or instance of burning; a chemical process (as an oxidation)
accompanied by the evolution of heat. 

-------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:0.5

A treaty. 

-------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:0.6

An experimental munitions disassembly technique through which a
chemical munition is frozen in liquid nitrogen and crushed to pieces
in a hydraulic press; the pieces are then incinerated.  Cryofracture
is only visualized as a munitions disassembly process and is not
considered an alternative to incineration. 

-------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:0.7

The process of decreasing the amount of chemical agent on any person,
object, or area by absorbing, neutralizing, destroying, ventilating,
or removing the agent. 

-------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:0.8

The extent to which a chemical agent or other hazardous material is
destroyed, expressed as a percentage. 

-------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:0.9

To remove a poison or toxin, or the effect of such. 

------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:0.10

Organic compounds that are sometimes created as a result of
incomplete combustion or the recombination of exhaust products from
the burning of mixtures containing certain chlorinated organic

------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:0.11

Shipping and packaging material for munitions. 

------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:0.12

Waste material discharged into the environment. 

------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:0.13

Suspended in a rapidly moving stream of gas or vapor to induce
flowing motion of the whole for enhancing a chemical or physical

------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:0.14

Organic compounds that are sometimes created as a result of
incomplete combustion or the recombination of exhaust products from
the burning of mixtures containing certain chlorinated organic

------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:0.15

A name given to a group of chemical reactions where two or more
chemicals, in water, react together to form a salt as one of the
products; a type of chemical neutralization. 

------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:0.16

Another word for combustion. 

------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:0.17

The act of altering the chemical, physical, and toxicological
properties to render the chemical agent ineffective for use as

------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:0.18

The process of combining with oxygen; to dehydrogenate, especially by
the action of oxygen.  Combustion is the most common oxidation

------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:0.19

A substance composed of or relating to minute separate particles. 

------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:0.20

A substance that exhibits some properties of a gas but differs from a
gas in being a good conductor of electricity. 

------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:0.21

Compounds that result from all types of combustion where there is
incomplete mixing, insufficient time in the incinerator, or
insufficiently high temperature.  These compounds are generated in
very small amounts. 

------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:0.22

A chemical change brought about by the action of heat in the absence
of oxygen. 

------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:0.23

To deoxidize; to combine with or subject to the action of hydrogen. 

------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:0.24

Solid compounds produced during a chemical neutralization reaction;
any of numerous compounds that result from replacement of part or all
of the acid hydrogen of an acid by a metal or a group acting like a

------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:0.25

A watery mixture of insoluble matter. 

------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:0.26

Capable of being dissolved. 

------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:0.27

The period when the individual systems of a disposal facility are
tested as an integrated system and training and simulant munitions
are processed through the system.  It also includes the comprehensive
certification of all workers and pre-operation checks by government

------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:0.28

A munition containing only one chemical, that being a lethal agent. 

------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 0:0.29

Readily vaporizable at a relatively low temperature.