Posted by: 1of10boyz | September 18, 2013

Chemical Weapons


Syria has chemical weapons. Not that this is news to anyone anymore. Even the Russians now admit that the Syrians have them. They even want to “help” the US get rid of them. Not that I am surprised, the US spend millions, maybe billions, helping the Russians figure out how to get rid of theirs before we ran away shaking our heads in wonder at how they would do it. I appreciate the challenge that will be faced by the world as we add another country to the list of those that won’t use chemical weapons and needs to get rid of their weaponized chemicals.

That is what the storage bunkers would look like if you were dealing with them in the US.

I know a thing or two about chemical weapons, mostly about how to take them apart and get rid of them.

I have seen plenty of actual CCTV footage of the process; I worked in the control room of a weapons destruction facility in the US for several years.

I have actually been within 20 mils of actually liquid nerve agent; I wore a DPE suit as an operator that was cleaning up and performing routine maintenance on the robotics used to disassemble and destroy munitions.

I have had to don protective suits that that would be required as the ready response team. I have sat in a chair outside of rooms filled with toxic and potentially lethal concentrations of agent wearing a chemical protective suit, as the last resort rescue person for persons working in those rooms. In a moment of crisis I would have donned my hood, turned on my SCBA bottle and plunged into those rooms to rescue a co-worker that was in a medical emergency.

I wore a gas mask on my hip for so many years that when I wasn’t required to have one, I actually had a minor panic attack before I remembered I didn’t have to have one. I knew about auto-inject needles and drugs not because I needed an epi-pen for allergies but because my mask carrier always had 2 sets of chemical injectors for immediate response, just in case I was actually exposed; they were the first aid I would provide to myself in an actual exposure to nerve agent.

I have a great respect for my colleagues that continued to work in that field after I felt the call to return back to nuclear. My life’s work began in nuclear and it has come full circle again as I am in nuclear. I am only now at a point again where my experience is equally split between chemical weapons destruction and nuclear power and operations programs, pretty much 13 years in each. Lots of great memories working with the people in both industries.

Lots of folks in the chemical weapons destruction business that are now looking for work because we have been pretty successful in the US of getting rid of those dangerous and deadly chemicals. We used to have as many as 6 locations in the US operating at one time. We are now wrapping up all of those locations and there are only 2 new ones left. Those are all getting ready to start in the next few years and then the entire work force will be looking for work. There are a lot of good skilled people that could certainly add to businesses’ bottom lines because these people are smart and capable. You can depend on these people to make a difference in an organization.

I read an article that provided a simple explanation of what it takes to destroy chemical weapons, here. I thought that it was a good starting point for what it takes to make these kinds of things go away. It is worth your time to read it.

Personally I like the nuclear power thing a lot better than chemical weapons destruction. You see, in the nuclear business a major accident by today’s standards, say Fukishima or Chernobyl, and I might be exposed to some radiation that could cause my death in several years. In the chemical weapons business a major accident, which could happen even with them just being in storage, I might be exposed to a small drop, say the size of George Washington’s eye’s pupil on a US Quarter; directly on my skin with no action to clean it up or wipe it off and I am going to be dead within a couple of hours. Nuclear seems really safe to me.

If you look close you can see a dot in the coin that represents George's eye.

If you look close you can see a dot in the coin that represents George’s eye.

Now you understand why we get a little excited about despots having these kinds of things just lying around. They are nasty and deadly. Glad to see we can talk the Syrians out of their little stash because they have already proven they aren’t concerned about using them.

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