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Transfer of mustard blister agent begins

June 5, 2009 at 2:16 PM

HERMISTON, Ore., June 5 (UPI) -- The U.S. Army Chemical Materials Agency announced it has begun the transfer of mustard blister agent to the Umatilla Chemical Agent Disposal Facility.

The CMA says the delivery of blister agent HD mustard-filled containers to the UMCDF is a significant milestone for the destruction of the volatile munitions.

Officials say the disposal marks the last campaign in the removal of Oregon's chemical weapons stockpile as part of an effort to bring the United States in compliance with the Chemical Weapons Convention international treaty, the CMA reported.

Despite the success of previous disposal campaigns, officials say the delivery will require special care in order for the operation to remain safe.

"Our experienced crews are dedicated to safe and secure munitions movement and delivery to the disposal plant," Lt. Col. Bob Stein, Umatilla Chemical Depot commander, said in a statement.

"Deliveries have gone very well during the 12 previous munitions campaigns, but risk remains until the last ton container is gone."

The disposal campaign is expected to take up to two years to complete.

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