Army To Destroy 1269 Tons Of Its Own VX Nerve Agent...In 2003.
Army Plans To Open Chemical Weapons Depot
For Briefing (from AP)
NEWPORT, Indiana (AP) - Some 1,269 tons of an oily nerve agent so lethal a few ounces could kill millions sits in steel containers among the corn and soybean fields of western Indiana while the Army works on a plan to destroy it. Officials planned to open the Indiana site to the media today for the first time in four years so reporters could attend a briefing on the military's progress and photograph the one-ton cylinders of VX nerve agent. The military dosn't expect to destroy any of the 1,269 tons of the lethal chemical weapon in Indiana until the fall of 2003, because the Army must still finish a required report on how the process may affect the enviroment. At the same time, the Army is preparing to search for companies capable of building a disposal facility at the Newport Chemical Depot 32 miles north of Terre Haute.

"Were preparing the pakage to go out for proposals for companies to bid on the facility, and were working with a team comrised of state and federal regulators to write the permit applications required under enviromental laws," said Mickey Morales, a spokeswoman for the Army in Aberdeen,Md. where deadly Mustard agent is stored. VX is 10 times as lethal as the nerve gas Sarin used in a deadly attack in a Tokyo subwaythat killed 12 and injured 5,000 in 1995. The agent can be inhaled or absorbed in the skin and causes death by paralysis. VX, which has the appearance and consistancy of mineral oil was developed in 1952 and produced in western Indiana during the 1960's as a Cold War deterrent. It has never been used in combat but is listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the deadiest substance known.

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