The orphaned shipment of napalm is back in California.
The 12,000 gallons of the flammable gel, a relic of the Vietnam War, arrived at this military installation Sunday, said Navy civilian spokeswoman Jeannie Light at the Naval Facilities Engineering Command in San Diego.The napalm left another California base, the Fallbrook Naval Weapons Facility, April 11 on what was intended to be a one-way trip to an industrial recycling plant in East Chicago, Ind. But the recycler backed out of the deal, citing political protests.
At one point, there was speculation it could end up at Laidlaw Environmental Services' plant in the western Utah desert, but a change in the company's hazardous-waste incinerator permit would have been needed.
The train traveled through parts of Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas before reaching Kansas City, Kan., late Wednesday. It was about three-quarters of the way to Indiana.
China Lake in the Mojave Desert, northwest of Los Angeles, was chosen for its high security, proximity to a railroad and expertise in handling hazardous waste. The two 6,000-gallon containers could remain for up to three months until another company is found to recycle the napalm.
Navy officials have previously said that the viscous mixture of polystyrene, gasoline and benzene is far less volatile than gasoline alone and that sending napalm by rail is safe - far safer than transporting other fuels.
About 3.3 million gallons of napalm have been stored at the Fallbrook facility north of San Diego for 25 years. The original plan was to have had all of it transferred, batch by batch, to the Indiana plant for recycling into fuel for cement kilns.