US Army: New milestone destroying mustard agent at Pueblo Chemical Depot

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FILE - In this Jan. 29, 2015 file photo, a technician uses a robot to to handle inert simulated chemical munitions used for training at Pueblo Chemical Depot in southern Colorado. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File)

FILE – In this Jan. 29, 2015 file photo, a technician uses a robot to to handle inert simulated chemical munitions used for training at Pueblo Chemical Depot in southern Colorado. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File)

PUEBLO, Colo. (AP) — The Army says it has reached a milestone at a Colorado chemical weapons depot by destroying more than 75% of decades-old shells containing mustard agent.

Walton Levi, site project manager of the U.S. Army Pueblo Chemical Depot, made the announcement in a statement Thursday.

The U.S. is destroying its chemical weapons stockpile under an international treaty known as the Chemical Weapons Convention. Mustard agent is being destroyed at the Colorado facility and mustard and nerve agent are being destroyed at the Blue Grass Army Depot in Kentucky.

The Pueblo Depot has stored 155m, 105mm and 4.2-inch mortar rounds since the early 1950s. Depot workers destroyed the last of the 155mm World War II-era shells in September and, since December, have destroyed more than 137,000 155mm projectiles.

The depot said some 1,935 tons of mustard agent had been destroyed as of June 25. Mustard agent can maim or kill, blistering skin, scarring eyes and inflaming airways.

The plant started operating in 2016 with more than 780,000 munitions in its original stockpile containing 2,500 U.S. tons of mustard agent. It has a 2023 projected completion date.

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