Chemical Demilitarization: Actions Needed to Improve the Reliability of the Army's Cost Comparison Analysis for Treatment and Disposal Options for Newport's VX Hydrolysate

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Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The U.S. stockpile of 1,269 tons of VX nerve agent stored at the Newport Chemical Depot (Newport), Indiana, is one of nine stockpiles that the Department of Defense (DOD) must destroy in response to congressional direction initially provided in 1985. In addition, the stockpile must be destroyed to comply with the requirements of the Chemical Weapons Convention, which the United States became a party to in 1997. The stockpile at Newport is the first U.S. stockpile containing VX that will be destroyed by using neutralization--a process that mixes ... continued below

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United States. Government Accountability Office. January 26, 2007.

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Description

Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The U.S. stockpile of 1,269 tons of VX nerve agent stored at the Newport Chemical Depot (Newport), Indiana, is one of nine stockpiles that the Department of Defense (DOD) must destroy in response to congressional direction initially provided in 1985. In addition, the stockpile must be destroyed to comply with the requirements of the Chemical Weapons Convention, which the United States became a party to in 1997. The stockpile at Newport is the first U.S. stockpile containing VX that will be destroyed by using neutralization--a process that mixes hot water and sodium hydroxide (a caustic chemical) with VX to change the chemical composition to a less toxic form. The resulting by-product is a liquid wastewater commonly referred to as hydrolysate that consists mostly of water but also has a caustic component and organic salts that need further treatment to meet Chemical Weapons Convention requirements and to meet federal and state environmental requirements for disposal. The Army, DOD's designated executive agent, began neutralizing Newport's VX stockpile on-site in May 2005 and, as of December 1, 2006, reports neutralizing about 34 percent of the stockpile. None of the generated hydrolysate--expected to be about 2 million gallons when the neutralization process is completed--has been treated. The hydrolysate is being stored on-site until a post-treatment plan can be implemented. The Army has been evaluating options for treating the hydrolysate since the mid-1990s. The John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007 mandated that GAO review the Army's Cost-Benefit Analysis of Off-Site Versus On-Site Treatment and Disposal of Newport Caustic Hydrolysate. Specifically, GAO (1) assessed the reasonableness of the Army's rationale to eliminate five of the eight technologies for treating Newport's hydrolysate; (2) determined what other options the Army considered, such as incineration; and (3) evaluated the adequacy of the cost comparison analysis presented for the three remaining technologies considered as alternatives to the Army's proposed plan. To meet the December 1, 2006, due date, GAO briefed or offered to brief your offices prior to that time. This report provides details of our findings and our conclusions and recommendations. GAO will also issue a separate letter on its assessment of the Army's cost-benefit analysis once DOD has completed its sensitivity review of the data in that letter."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • January 26, 2007

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  • June 12, 2014, 7:50 p.m.

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United States. Government Accountability Office. Chemical Demilitarization: Actions Needed to Improve the Reliability of the Army's Cost Comparison Analysis for Treatment and Disposal Options for Newport's VX Hydrolysate, text, January 26, 2007; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc296439/: accessed April 26, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.