Army Wants to Remove Rockets at Bluegrass Depot For Testing

Dec 11, 2012

RICHMOND, Ky. - The Army says it’s time to test the stability of aging rocket fuel stored at the Bluegrass Army Depot in Madison County.

This winter, propellant from 44 rockets will be removed, with most of it trucked to New Jersey for safety tests. Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Grice, who commands the operation, says there will be numerous safeguards in place. The biggest risk is the accidental ignition of a rocket motor.

“The equipment that we have will hold the rocket securely. Obviously a concern is that there be some type of auto-ignition, that’s why the rocket restraining device is designed the way that it is. And then we have some mitigation measures to ensure that there’s no static electricity inside the igloo or that the workers have while they’re handling munitions,” Grice said.

Grice says more than 69,000 rockets, dating back to the 1960s, are stored at the Bluegrass Army Depot. Their chemical warheads will be returned to storage.

Assuming the state grants a permit, disassembly could begin in February.