Radford Army Ammunition Plant breaks ground on natural gas energy center

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PULASKI COUNTY, Va. (WDBJ7) The Radford Army Ammunition Plant is going green. The facility is creating more Eco-friendly buildings amid accusations of causing air pollution.

After Thursday's ground breaking, the Ammunition Plant in Pulaski County is nine months from having a new Eco-friendly, natural gas energy center.

Chief of Operations of the Army Rob Davie explained, "The energy center, basically, provides steam and electricity for the Radford Army Ammunition Plant and we need the steam for heating and for processing."

It will also replace the 77-year old coal-fired powerhouse the plant had been using.

Plant Commander Alicia Masson said, "Coal-fired powerhouse is really not good for the environment. As soon as that was identified and we were able to figure out a better way that really has none of the concerns that we'd have with a coal fire plant, we went after that and we were able to secure it with the help of our leadership."

But the benefit isn't just what comes out. The new center will also better control what goes in.

"Instead of having one or two or three huge turbines, we'll have sets of two," Masson said. "If one goes down, there won't be a huge energy draw."

Masson went onto say this is something that's been in the works for years, it's just now they have the near $60 million funding necessary.

"Some of the things that are being said, not only are they not true, they couldn't be true," she said of recent allegation that the plant is causing air pollution. "For example some things we just don't have here, there are some things we just don't do here."

This center was only part two of five new projects that will modernize the plant. Next up, the recently controversial incinerator will be replaced by a new, enclosed explosive waste incinerator.

"We have some storm water sewer upgrades that are going on and then we have a solvent solvent-less area and that's being improved as well," Masson said. "And those things are not to make more money, those things were improvements because we know that we have to be very good stewards of the environment."

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