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My next-door neighbor is a weapon of mass destruction

An army depot in eastern Kentucky once housed something extraordinary and terrible: an arsenal of chemical weapons. The dangers of this stockpile hovered over the residents of the nearby city of Richmond for decades. Recently, the Army fulfilled a long-standing mandate to destroy their entire supply of these deadly weapons, but the road to get there wasn’t easy.

Special thanks to Ben Evans and Ben Sollee for providing archival audio from the documentary NERVE included in this episode.


  • John Ismay, Pentagon correspondent for The New York Times
  • Craig Williams, activist and Director of Kentucky Environmental Foundation
  • Mike Kester, shift plant manager at Blue Grass Army Depot


  • Check out John Ismay’s reporting on the dismantling of America’s chemical weapon’s stockpile.
  • You can find a transcript of the episode here.
Charlie Shelton-Ormond is a podcast producer for WUNC.
Jerad Walker is WUNC’s editor of narrative audio and podcasts. He joined the station in 2022 after nearly a decade at Oregon Public Broadcasting.
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