Tuesday, December 10, 2013

No Nation Wants to Destroy Syria's Chemical Weapons, So Destruction to take Place on the High Seas / Bloomberg

Although Secretary of State Kerry said there were multiple nations with whom the US was negotiating to take and destroy Syria's chemical weapons, none took him up on the offer.

So the US, working with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, plans to take a US cargo ship and turn it into a chemical weapons destruction facility.  US officials promise not to dump the resulting waste in the ocean (as the US did at least 74 times before).  The destruction is estimated to require 45-90 days.

Meanwhile, destruction of the US' own chemical weapons (CW) arsenal (2-3 times as large as Syria's, and consisting of the same 3 agents: mustard gas, sarin and VX) is a completely different story.

Two huge factories are being constructed in Kentucky and Colorado for the destruction, and the Kentucky facility will not even be completed until 2020!  See below:
  Destruction will then proceed for another three years.  The current cost estimate is $10.6 billion dollars to destroy the US stockpile.  But Syria's similar stockpile can be destroyed on board a cargo ship?

Something is wrong with this picture.  Mobile factories for CW destruction are owned by the Army and can be purchased from companies like Eisenmann.  An anonymous US official said its unit costs roughly $5 million to build.  It can destroy up to 25 metric tons of CW agents per day.
The U.S. unit, built by the ECBC and the government's Defense Threat Reduction Agency, is operated by a crew of 15. It can destroy up to 25 metric tons of chemical agents per day when run around the clock, according to Edgewood. Several units could be located on the same site, enabling the sharing of security and other assets, it said.
From Bloomberg
Officials from the international organization have visited the U.S. Army’s Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland to examine the Field Deployable Hydrolysis System, which can dilute Syria’s stock of poison gas and precursor chemicals with water and bleach to neutralize them, the officials said.
The low-level effluent that results won’t be dumped into the ocean, the officials said. It will be disposed of at a yet to be determined industrial waste-treatment facility...
 After a ship delivers the chemicals from Latakia to a port, the officials said, the stockpile will be transfered to the Cape Ray. Once the chemicals are on the U.S. ship, the neutralization process will occur at sea and may take 45 to 90 days, they said.
The Cape Ray will have about 100 U.S. personnel, with about 60 Pentagon civilian employees and the remainder being contract workers, the officials said. They declined to discuss security measures for the ship.

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