Chemical Weapons

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

Tests have found that the Army's chemical weapons incinerator discharged too much PCBs from its stack during trial burns, raising new questions about the operation.

Westinghouse, which operates the incinerator at Anniston Army Depot, said yesterday the emissions were tiny and well within safety standards.

The problem was disclosed on the heels of two recent scares over possible nerve agent releases in Anniston.

EPA wants additional testing, and officials are trying to figure out the source of the additional PCBs. Its unclear whether the problem could lead to a shutdown of the incinerator.

Meanwhile, depot officials are puzzled by a monitor that showed a small amount of lethal VX nerve agent in woods at the old Fort McClellan about four miles from the depot's chemical weapons storage area.

The monitor detected only a small amount of VX, and authorities said it's unclear whether the leak occurred Monday or much earlier.

Also this week, a small amount of sarin nerve agent leaked from a dirt-covered bunker where chemical weapons are stored. As many as eight workers were in the area, but no one was injured.

Since burning began last year, 97 tons of sarin weapons have been destroyed.


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