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The Rocky Mountain Arsenal

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Overview


Rocky Mountain Arsenel was constructed during World War II near Denver, Colorado to produce mustard but was converted after the war to begin producing Nerve Agents. It quikly became the prime facility for industrial scale Sarin production.

After the arsenal ceased production in 1957, environmental problems continued. Tucker notes that "because of the intense pressure at teh height of the Cold War to turn out thousands of tons of Sarin, little effort had been made to control pollution" (#Tucker, 2006). Weak environmental laws allowed companies such as Shell, who leased out part of the Arsenal to produce insecticides, to scrimp on environmental safegaurds. Waterfowl were poisoned and groundwater was polluted around the site for years after production ceased and the acres surrounding the site were dubbed the most poluted piece of real estate in America (#Tucker, 2006).

Current Events


December 6, 2006
China has nereaffirmed its commitment and urged other coutnries to destory all chemical stockpiles by 2012. See full article from BBC.

November 21, 2006
The United States has pushed bck the date for complete destruction of its chemical weapons stockplie until 2023, 11 years after the deadline that was previously set. See the full USA Today article.

September 8, 2006
Russia has opened another plant to hasten destruction of its immense stockpile of chemical weapons. The plant, Russia's third destruciton facility, is charged with destorying 17% of the country's stockpile and will focus its efforts on neutralizing nerve agents stored in bombs and warheads. See the full text from the Associated Press Worldstream.

July 7, 2006
The United States has requested an extension to the Chemical Weapons Convention's deadline to destroy its stockpile by 2012. Analysts estimate the US will not be able to destroy its stockpiles until around 2020. See full article from State Department Documents and Publication.


References



Tucker, Johnathon B. War of Nerves: Chemical Warfare from World War I to Al-Qaeda. Pantheon Books, 2006.


Hutchinson, Robert. Weapons of mass Destruction: The No-nonsense Guide to Nuclear, Chemical and Biological Weapons Today. Widenfield and nicholson, 2003.

Smart, Jeffery K., M.A. (1997). "History of Biological and Chemical Warfare". Textbook of Military Medicine: Medical Aspects of Chemical and Biological Warfare. Retrieved Jan. 5, 2006 from Center for Diaster and Humanitarian Assistance Medicine (CDHAM).

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