The objective of this Statement of Need (SON) was to develop innovative approaches and new technologies that recycle, reuse, or otherwise demilitarize in an environmentally sound and safe manner excess, obsolete, and unserviceable conventional ammunition. New technologies were sought that maximize recycling and reuse, minimize operator exposure, enhance explosive safety, and reduce life-cycle costs. Alternatives to open burning and open detonation (OB/OD) were sought for munition items that have no environmentally acceptable demilitarization methodologies and that had potential for dual use applicability to treatment of waste commercial pyrotechnics and waste fireworks. Proposals should have described why proof of concept is needed and indicate criteria for demonstrating success. Proposals for demilitarization of chemical weapons or chemical warfare material were not of interest.
The aging, excess, and unusable stockpile of conventional weapons and munitions continues to grow each year. Many munitions can be demilitarized for reuse of the explosive components and recycling of the metal parts, but many waste military munitions are disposed through OB/OD and other thermal treatment processes that are cost prohibitive and have extensive permitting requirements. New technologies and processes are sought that increase materials recycling and reuse and serve as alternatives to OB/OD, especially for items that have no demilitarization options and materials for which current processes have significant environmental protection and explosive safety concerns.
In order to demilitarize the growing stockpile of obsolete munitions and waste reactive materials, a suite of innovative, safe, and environmentally acceptable recycling and disposal technologies is needed. Processes that employ safe mechanical and chemical means for recycling and disposal and at the same time control the release of hazardous environmental pollutants are needed for submunitions and bomblets, anti-armor and anti-personnel mines, and projectiles filled with new insensitive munitions compounds. In 1998, an Army Surgeon General’s risk assessment led to a moratorium on OB/OD of hexachloroethane, colored smokes, and riot control munitions. To date, there are still no effective technologies for demilitarization of these items. New and safe technologies for recycling or product breakdown and disposal of pyrotechnics, flares, and reactive materials are sought where the only current option for disposal is open burning. Examples of ordnance items for which capability gaps exist include, but are not limited to M67/M72 Area Denial Artillery Munition (ADAM) anti-personnel mines, BLU-61/B bomblets, and hazard classification 1.3C, 1.3G, and 1.4G1 pyrotechnics and waste commercial fireworks.
To meet the objectives of this SEED SON, proposals should not have exceeded $150,000 in total cost and approximately one year in duration. Work performed under the SEED SON should investigate innovative approaches that entail high technical risk and/or have minimal supporting data. At the conclusion of the project, sufficient data and analysis should be available to provide risk reduction and/or a proof-of-concept. SEED projects are eligible for follow-on funding if they result in a successful initial project.