How the U.S. Plans to Help Destroy Syria’s Chemical Weapons

chemical-weaponsThe Department of Defense is planning to help eradicate Syria’s chemical weapons with some chemicals of its own.

Later this December, department officials plan to test a portable hydrolysis system that uses “heat, water and bleach-like chemicals” to transform the weapons into a lower grade of hazardous waste that is more manageable, according to a news release on the department’s website. The tests will be conducted on Cape Ray, a U.S. Merchant Marine ship, marking the first time such a test would be performed at sea.

The U.S. aims to destroy Syrian mustard gas, a blistering agent, as well as sarin and VX, both of which attack the human nervous system. The chemicals are expected to be delivered in bulk liquid form by the Syrian government. After they’re degraded, they’ll be moved to an unknown location.

“We analyzed various technologies, including incineration, and decided to use a proven technology that we had a lot of experience with,” an anonymous department official said, according to the report. “We had to deal with bulk liquid chemicals of this nature in Newport, Ind., and in Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., in the 2000s.”

Cape Ray should be outfitted with the two hydrolysis machines in a matter of weeks, according to Reuters, and will be manned by …

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