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RAF PORTREATH A.K.A Chemical Defence Establishment Nancekuke

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Presentation on theme: "RAF PORTREATH A.K.A Chemical Defence Establishment Nancekuke"— Presentation transcript:

1 RAF PORTREATH A.K.A Chemical Defence Establishment Nancekuke
By Owen Winters and Matthew Corry

2 RAF Portreath History of the Site: 1940- RAF Fighter Sector Station
and Overseas Air Dispatch Unit 1945- Transport Command Briefing School 1950- Chemical Defence Establishment Nancekuke 1976- Start of decommissioning 1980- Site closed and handed back to RAF 1999- RAF Land Quality Survey 2000- Phase 2 Land Quality Assessment 2000  Remediation

3 CDE Nancekuke Small-scale chemical agent production and research facility Produced the nerve agent Sarin, an extremely toxic substance As a chemical weapon, it is classified as a weapon of mass destruction by the United Nations Production and stockpiling of Sarin was outlawed by the Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993 While in operation CDE Nancekuke produced 20 tonnes of Sarin (less than 1mg is enough to kill an adult) In 1976 CDE Nancekuke was closed down and decommissioned

4 Decommissioning All remaining stocks of chemical agents were either:
-Neutralised on site -Returned to industry -Buried on site Demolition materials from the buildings and machinery buried on site 5 Dump locations A-E -A: In-filled quarry -B: In-filled valley -C: Purpose- dug pits -D&E: Mineshafts

5 Site Investigation 1999 RAF commissioned a Land Quality Survey which recommended a Phase 2 Land Quality Survey to identify and quantify whether the environment was being harmed Phase 2 survey: Intrusive investigation Comprehensive data gathering Boreholes Soil Samples Water Samples Results: Low concentrations of industrial chemicals Asbestos Absence of chemical warfare agents MOD voluntarily decided to remediate the site

6 The Remediation Project
Safety Measures: Respirators Protective suits Vapour containment System

7 The Remediation Project
Sites A & B: 60 trial pits have been dug, no remediation carried out to date Majority is non-hazardous rubble Some asbestos material Decontaminated chemical plant Chemical waste residues- typical of industrial activities Minute traces of chemical agent breakdown products (from Sarin, CS Gas, Mustard Gas) Solid residues of CS

8 The Remediation Project
Site C: (Purpose-Dug pits and trenches) 100m3 of waste material excavated and disposed of to land-fill Soil washing Area revegitated Sites D & E: (Former Mineshafts) Above and below ground investigations Presence of decontaminated chemical plant, machinery, waste materials and reaction vessels Containment- Entrances secured to prevent unauthorised access

9 Treatment Methods Good records- makes treatment easier to plan
Majority of the chemicals manufactured on the site had a short ‘shelf life’ Natural hydrolysis of the chemicals by the groundwater and bio-remediation has eliminated hazards Sarin can be chemically deactivated by strong alkalis Sodium Hydroxide (salt) destroys Sarin in a hydrolysis reaction, converting it to harmless sodium salts Disposal of non-hazardous material off-site Soil washing Containment of decommissioned plant etc in the abandoned mineshafts

10 The Next Steps… Further investigations of Sites A & B and a decision as to what the optimum remediation strategy will be Regular sampling of water around the dump sites will continue for several years

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