Washington, DC – Dec 6, 2019. The National Academies of Science Engineering and Medicine (NASEM) published a report – Alternatives for the Demilitarization of Conventional Munitions. It is the result of an 18-month study that examined the conventional munitions demilitarization program at the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), as mandated in the Fiscal 2017 National Defense Authorization Act.
The report assesses the pros and cons of Open Burn/Open Detonation OB/OD and alternative technologies. One of the recognized, mature and approved technologies designated in the report as an alternative to OB/OD is MuniRem.
As a result of the study, the Department of the Army issued a memorandum that mandated Army Commands to make a concerted effort to reduce reliance on OB as soon as possible and to completely replace it by the end of Fiscal Year 2024.
Description of Book – available as a free PDF download or $75 for hard copy.
The U.S. military has a stockpile of approximately 400,000 tons of excess, obsolete, or unserviceable munitions. About 60,000 tons are added to the stockpile each year. Munitions include projectiles, bombs, rockets, landmines, and missiles. Open burning/open detonation (OB/OD) of these munitions has been a common disposal practice for decades, although it has decreased significantly since 2011.
OB/OD is relatively quick, procedurally straightforward, and inexpensive. However, the downside of OB and OD is that they release contaminants from the operation directly into the environment. Over time, a number of technology alternatives to OB/OD have become available and more are in research and development. Alternative technologies generally involve some type of contained destruction of the energetic materials, including contained burning or contained detonation as well as contained methods that forego combustion or detonation.
Alternatives for the Demilitarization of Conventional Munitions reviews the current conventional munitions demilitarization stockpile and analyzes existing and emerging disposal, treatment, and reuse technologies. This report identifies and evaluates any barriers to full-scale deployment of alternatives to OB/OD or non-closed loop incineration/combustion, and provides recommendations to overcome such barriers.