Upcoming tests at the Army's chemical weapons incinerator will determine how quickly the military can destroy munitions. The tests will also provide the first real information on smokestack emissions of toxic substances.
While the installation already has destroyed more than 9,000 rockets loaded with the deadly sarin nerve agent, test burns set to begin Sunday could determine the incinerator's operations for the foreseeable future.
Project manager Tim Garrett said the Army expects to destroy between 34 and 36 M-55 rockets an hour during the tests, fewer than the original plan of 40 an hour.
During the trial burns, the Army must prove to state and federal environmental regulators that it can safely and efficiently burn weapons for six-hour stretches.
The Army hopes to finish the tests by Thanksgiving.
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