Robots being used to destroy mustard agent near Pueblo

Posted at 1:12 PM, Sep 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-15 19:45:23-04

PUEBLO, Colo. — Robots may conjure up images of out-of-control metal machines bent on world destruction, but they are being used on the Colorado prairie to help destroy agents that could actually cause such a scenario.

The Army is using robots to help destroy the nation’s largest remaining stockpile of mustard agent at a $4.5 billion plant near Pueblo.

Approximately 1,400 humans control the robotic machinery that empty wine-bottle-shaped projectiles inside sealed chambers behind 24-inch-thick blast walls, according to the Denver Post.

The machines will destroy about 780,000 artillery shells filled with the agent under an international treaty.

Mustard agent can maim or kill by damaging skin, eyes and airways.

The plant uses water and bacteria to neutralize the mustard agent. Work is expected to finish in mid-2020.

The depot has already destroyed 560 shells and bottles of mustard agent that were leaking or had other problems that made them unsuitable for the plant.


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