Robots dismantle and neutralize 100,000 mustard agent chemical weapons
While some areas of mechanization are challenged by workers and others, the sector of chemical weapons destruction has been happily transitioned to robots. Recently, a destruction plant for chemical agents in Colorado successfully destroyed 100,000 U.S. chemical munitions, as required under the Chemical Weapons Convention that the U.S. signed in 1997. The U.S. developed a massive arsenal of chemical weapons in the first half of the 20th century, which it then had to dispose of, a difficult task due to their environmental and human risk. Until the 1960s, weapons were dumped into the ocean under a program officially named “Operation Cut Holes & Sink ‘Em” (CHASE). Since this was banned, however, human workers have had to dismantle and process the weapons, which proved a slow effort. With the new mechanization, robots are able to process the munitions faster, currently processing around 400 munitions per days, and without risk of harm to workers. Currently, the factor is expecting to complete its processing of munitions in 2023, at which time around 2,600 tons of mustard agent will be fully processed.