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BAE looks to eliminate open burning

Hank Hayes • Mar 1, 2019 at 8:00 PM

KINGSPORT — BAE Systems announced Thursday it will pursue installing an “enclosed thermal treatment furnace” that could eliminate the need for “open burn” activities at the Holston Army Ammunition Plant.

A joint Army-BAE Systems study weighed 25 different technologies to identify methods to safely decontaminate and dispose of site-specific waste.

“It determined that mature technology known as a Car Bottom Furnace could treat a large portion of the explosives-contaminated materials and is the best option to reduce the environmental impact,” a news release from BAE, the plant’s operating contractor, noted.

BAE pointed out the pursuit of the furnace technology is dependent on government funding. If funding is secured, the first step in implementing the technology would be to complete a design phase, which includes an explosive-safety site plan submission along with state operating permit applications, according to BAE.

“While the study concluded the construction of a Car Bottom Furnace would significantly reduce open burning of some materials, finding a safe alternative treatment for waste energetics remains a challenge,” BAE pointed out. “The search for a suitable technology to address these specific wastes continues. For any waste that cannot be safely managed with technology solutions, open burning will for the time being remain as the only safe and viable option for the facility.”

BAE pledged during a public hearing last December that it was committed to finding “safe alternatives” to open burning.

BAE Systems has been the operating contractor of the Holston Army Ammunition Plant since 1999, developing a wide range of explosive formulations for both military and commercial applications. Since January 1999, BAE Systems Ordnance Systems business has provided modernization planning, project management, design and construction at the U.S. Army munitions plant facilities it operates.

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