A Louisiana National Guard spokesman says it probably will take six months of work before crews can begin destruction of 7,800 tons of artillery propellant at Camp Minden.
Col. Pete Schneider tells The Times that an Oklahoma company recently won the contract to build the device to contain pollution when the M6 propellant is burned. Once it’s made, it will be barged to the Port of Caddo-Bossier and trucked from there to Camp Minden.
Schneider says site crews are leveling the ground, repairing old roads and laying out where the equipment will go.
The Environmental Protection Agency will hold a community advisory group meeting Aug. 10 to touch base with concerned citizens.
The EPA’s plan is on target with recent projections, said Brian Salvatore, an organic history professor at Louisiana State University-Shreveport.
While another explosion is possible, chances are slim, he said.
Salvatore said a stabilizer meant to keep the propellant from undergoing any chemical reactions makes up 1 percent of M6.
“As you get less and less stabilizer present there becomes a chance the M6 will have localized heating issues,” he said. “As it gets these hot-spots in the material you could experience spontaneous deflagration.”
Salvatore said the Explosives Safety Board recommended getting the project underway by Aug. 2015 and predicted an eight-year window before the M6 becomes dangerously unstable.
“There’s always a risk, but at this time that risk is low that there’s going to be some kind of catastrophic event,” Salvatore said. “But the longer we wait the higher that risk becomes.”