Utah Depot Burns Off Chemical Weapons Stockpile

Date: August 22, 2002

Source: News Room

Six years after the job started, the Deseret (Utah) Chemical Depot has destroyed 44 percent of the nation's largest stockpile of chemical weapons, officials said. The Chemical Depot plans to destroy the remaining stockpile at the site 45 miles southwest of Salt Lake City by the year 2004. The depot has destroyed more than 6,000 tons of sarin, a highly volatile nerve agent that can paralyze the lungs. The depot next will destroy 1,300 tons of VX, a more toxic but less volatile nerve agent that has the consistency of vegetable oil. It's contained in mines, rockets, warheads and aircraft tanks designed to spray a deadly mist. Finally, the depot will move on to 6,100 tons of mustard gas, a blister agent that can dissolve tissue on contact. The campaign started Aug. 22, 1996, when the incinerator began burning the depot's 13,616 tons of chemical warfare agents -- weapons the U.S. military has never used in combat. They are being destroyed under international treaties signed by more than 200 countries.

Sign up to receive our free Weekly News Bulletin