Camp Minden material to be destroyed in place - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

BREAKING

Camp Minden material to be destroyed in place

(Source: LA State Police) (Source: LA State Police)
CAMP MINDEN, LA (KSLA) -

A decision has been made to destroy "in place" the 200,000 pounds (100 tons) of clean-burning igniter, commonly referred to as CBI, remaining at Camp Minden.

News of the controlled detonations inside 2 bunkers has been confirmed by someone in a meeting this evening at Camp Minden during which the citizens' Community Action Group was briefed local, state and federal authorities.

A public town hall-style gathering is set for 6:30 p.m Thursday in Building A-120 at Camp Minden.

The news also comes in the wake of an inspection of the Webster Parish compound last week by members of the Defense Department Explosives Safety Board.

The target dates for the detonations Oct. 18, Oct. 22 and Oct. 29.

This includes 40,000 pounds of M6 artillery propellant included in one of the bunkers for the Oct. 29 target date.

The National Guard previously confirmed for KSLA News 12 that Army experts on Thursday evening are scheduled to explain to the public their recommendations about what to do with the clean-burning igniter that remains after a combustion incident Sept. 29 at Camp Minden.

An email this week from an EPA spokesman told members of the citizens group that the early indication from the Defense Department Explosives Safety Board is that "the CBI material cannot be moved or handled safely."

Officials say roughly 300,000 pounds of igniter was being stored in 3 separate bunkers. After the combustion incident that destroyed one of those bunkers, a little more than 200,000 pounds of CBI remains in 2 bunkers.

LSU-Shreveport chemistry professor Brian Salvatore, a member of the citizens' group, recently shared an idea for stabilizing the CBI and preventing another incident until the material can be destroyed.

"It could be doused with water, put underwater and it would be kept stable," he told KSLA News 12.

But dousing with water would come with its own set of challenges, Salvatore added. "The question is what we have in each bunker is a 120,000 pounds. You can't just pick up a big pile and put it all in water at once."

Salvatore shared his idea with the EPA. In response, he learned that officials considered water immersion 2 years ago but a white paper described it as an untested method.

Salvatore said the most extreme option would be the controlled detonation of each CBI bunker.

"But that would be the first time in American history that we've ever had to do something like that."

The citizens group fought hard for the yearlong, clean-burn process now underway to destroy the 15 million pounds of M6 artillery propellant found improperly stored at Camp Minden and the original 300,000 pounds of igniter.

Frances Kelley, who also is a member of that group, said controlled detonation could be the only safe option.

"If the experts say that it's not safe for anyone to go in those bunkers, I don't want to be arguing that someone should go in those bunkers to move it."

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