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Chem weapons: burning issues.

On Aug. 22, Army contractors opened an M55 rocket and began draining its load of GB, a lethal nerve agent. That marked the start-up of the nation's first full-scale facility for incinerating chemical weapons, a 19-acre plant situated within the remote Tooele (too-ella) Army Depot in northwest Utah. Some 2 days-and 205 rockets-later, the Army shut the plant down to investigate how GB had gotten into enclosed areas adjacent to the massive filters that are used to clean munitions-contaminated air.

While GB didn't belong in these areas, "we don't see it as a major problem," says Marilyn Tischbin, at the Army's Aberdeen (Md.) Proving Ground. "It's just part of the fine-tuning we have to go through."

But citing safety concerns (SN: 12/10/94, p. 394), several individuals and groups continue to lobby against the plant. Indeed, notes Cindy King of the Utah Sierra Club in Salt Lake City, her group and others have multiple suits pending against the Army and Utah.

The United States announced 12 years ago that it would incinerate all of its toxic mustard gas and nerve agents. Tooele houses 42 percent of that stockpile.
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Title Annotation:chemical weapon incineration plant at Tooele Army Depot, Utah, shut down while leak is investigated
Author:Raloff, Janet
Publication:Science News
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Aug 31, 1996
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