As stockpiles of chemical weapons are destroyed, the US looks to detecting and destroying buried munitions

Today, as governments finish destroying their chemical weapons, the US is looking back at the stockpiles it disposed of in the early to mid twentieth century. At that time, chemical weapons were often destroyed by burning in pits and burial, leading to contamination. The US National Academies have now published a report calling on the Department of Defense to identify all sites by 2013 and then develop new methods to remediate the contaminated areas.

Remediation of buried chemical warfare materiel suggests that rather than the remediation of recovered chemical warfare materials (RCWM) remaining the responsability of different departments depending on how and where RCWM is discovered, a clear organisational structure is needed. This program will perform oversight and management of a project which, the report suggests, will cost billions of dollars over several years.