You’re looking at footage of the Radford Army Ammunition Plant — a place where members of the public have only been allowed one other time.
Lt. Col. Jim Scott says this is the first in a series of moves designed to bridge the longstanding gap between the plant and the surrounding community.
“We wanted to truly be as transparent as we can and how our commitment and bring them on the installation and show them how proud I am of what these men and women do for our nation,” Scott said.
This meeting – which was only open to media and invited citizens – included an opening presentation, a bus tour of the grounds, and a Q&A with plant officials.
It comes only ten days after the workplace death of 42-year-old Andrew Goad – a death Scott says should not overshadow the historic safety record of the almost 80-year-old facility.
“Well 1) this installation is safe. The safety record of this installation is phenomenal. I know we’re coming off a tragic loss, and the team is continuously getting better, and will heal through this loss. But our workers, their family, and our community, and the safety of that- and to enable the production of munitions in support of the joint war fighter, is our number one priority,” he said.
Scott says his next priority – minimizing the operation’s impact on the environment through his new “Commander’s Challenge.”
The plant has historically faced criticism for reportedly polluting nearby rivers and its open-burn practice.
Through the challenge, though, the plant would substantially cut the amount of waste treated at open burn ground.
“So I challenged our team to get a fifty percent reduction from where we were at last year on glide path to- when the incinerator comes online. And we’re excited to announce that, as of right now, we’ll close out this year at about thirty five percent reduction,” he said.
Scott hopes to move ever-closer to 0% open-burn and says he is committed to remediating open land.
He is unsure if complicated logistics would allow for another such event soon, but he hopes to continue this dialogue with the public with a series of monthly meetings.