The Army has asked the state for permission to conduct experiments at Dugway Proving Ground to determine the best way to dispose of obsolete weapons and propellants, a Dugway official says.
Keith Dumbauld, Dugway's deputy test director, confirmed the Army proposes destroying bombs, rockets and other out-of-date weapons by either open-pit burning or detonation at the installation.Authorities confirm that some of those demilitarized weapons may be contaminated with toxic materials.
The Army plans to use sophisticated monitoring to determine whether the burns and blasts pose a threat to the public health or environment through contamination of the soil or air.
However, Dumbauld said the Army won't test under conditions that will pose any threat to the people of Dugway or others outside the installation's boundaries.
The experiments would be similar to the destruction of a Pershing II missile's solid-fuel motor at Tooele Army Depot in November 1987. That test-burning was to determine the most effective method of destroying America's stock of intermediate-range nuclear weapons, which are banned under a treaty with the Soviet Union.
The Army has proposed as many as 175 test burns over a two-year period beginning next month.
The public has until April 17 to provide Dugway officials with comments regarding the proposal.