The United States has completed the destruction of its declared chemical weapons stockpile, marking an end to a warfare chapter that dates back to World War I. Workers at the Blue Grass Army Depot in Kentucky destroyed rockets containing sarin nerve gas, fulfilling the nation’s commitment to the International Chemical Weapons Convention.
- The destroyed chemical weapons included rockets filled with GB nerve agents or sarin. The destruction at the Blue Grass Army Depot in Kentucky concludes a decades-long effort to eliminate a Cold War-era stockpile that once exceeded 30,000 tonnes.
- This accomplishment brings the US into compliance with the International Chemical Weapons Convention, which it joined in 1997 along with 192 other countries. The convention stipulated a September 30, 2023, deadline to eliminate existing chemical weapon stockpiles.
- US workers started destroying chemical weapons in 2016 at the Army Pueblo Chemical Depot in southern Colorado. In June, they completed their mission of neutralizing an entire cache of about 2,600 tonnes of mustard blister agent.
- Kentucky’s disposal plant, which completed construction in 2015 and began operations in 2019, used neutralization to dispose of the deadly agents safely.
- The destruction of the US’s chemical weapons marks a significant step for the Chemical Weapons Convention. However, Egypt, North Korea, and South Sudan have not signed the treaty, and Israel has signed but not ratified it.