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Both V and G-agents requires the syntheses of
methylphosphonic dichloride (DC). A DC production facility would cost approximately $25 million, and could range in size from a large building to
a single large room. This cost does not include the cost of pollution controls,
and treating the toxic waste.
O-Ethyl methylphosphonothioic acid (also known as EMPTA)
Ethyl hydrogen methylphosphonite
PRODUCING NERVE AGENTS (G AND V AGENTS)
G-AGENTS: GD (SOMAN), GB (SARIN) AND GA (TABUN)
G-agents are easier to produce than V-agents. They use fewer Schedule 1 precursors and more chemicals that have legitimate commercial applications. Both V and G-agents requires the syntheses of methylphosphonic dichloride (DC).
There are many ways to produce DC. At least 4 were done in the US, and one more in the USSR. Iraq used a method similar to the latest US method, which produced DC for binary weapons. DC production requires expensive specialized equipment such as glass-lined reactors and storage tanks. These items are not especially difficult to obtain.
In order to make use of existing facilities and processes, the Soviets produced a dual-purpose DC for their G-agent production process to produce their VX-equivalent, VG, or Russian VX. This method for V-agent production has an additional requirement to recover a highly toxic material from solution and to handle large quantities of contaminated solvent.
A DC production facility would cost approximately $25 million, and could range in size from a large building to a single large room. This cost does not include the cost of pollution controls, and treating the toxic waste. After it is produced, DC is relatively easy to store and ship.
Most of the alcohols involved in producing G-agents have large-scale commercial applications. An exception is pinacolyl alcohol, which is used for producing GD (Soman) and has only limited pharmaceutical use.
The final steps of producing G-agents involve both chlorination and fluorination. These steps involve highly toxic materials, and require special equipment such as air handlers and special, expensive, corrosion-resistant fittings made from Hastelloy-C, or precious metals.
Critical materials in manufacturing processes for soman (GD) are phosphorus trichloride; DC; hydrogen fluoride; pinacolyl alcohol
The synthetic route to the mass manufacture of sarin involves 5 steps.
Phosphorus trichloride reacted with methanol to produce trimethylphosphite.
Trimethylphosphite converted to imethylmethylphosphonate (DMMP) through a rearrangement caused by the application of heat.
DMMP reacted with phosphorus pentachloride by applying heat, to produce Methylphosphonyl dichloride.
Methylphosphonyl dichloride reacted with sodium fluoride to produce methylphosphonyl difluoride.
Methylphosphonyl difluoride and methylphosphonyl dichloride mixed with isopropyl alcohol to produce Sarin
Phosphorus trichloride, a VX precursor is a remarkably versatile reagent and can be used to introduce chlorine or phosphorus into a wide range of inorganic and organic precursors. Annual production in the United States is in excess of 300,000 short tons with US consumption in excess of 350,000 short tons. Approximately 70% of this is used in the manufacture of organophosphorus pesticides. Another VX precursor, phosphorus pentasulfide is used in the manufacture of zinc dialkyldithiophosphates additives for high performance lubricants
Precursors for soman can be found in the manufacturing of flame retardants, Insecticides, Oil additives Herbicides, Polymers, Dyestuffs, Pharmaceuticals, Solvants, and Petrochemicals.
Critical materials for the manufacute of sarin are phosphorus trichloride; DF; DC; hydrogen fluoride; isopropanol.
Sarin precursors have multiple commercial applications. Sodium Bifluoride is normally manufactured by the reaction of hydrofluoric acid and soda ash (sodium carbonate), or caustic soda (sodium hydroxide); uses are Cleaning of stone and brick surfaces, food processing equipment sanitation, commercial laundry Laundry souring, tin plate production, zinc galvanizing. It is also used in pest control and insectproofing agent for leather, for for removal of iron rust and as a neutralization agent. It can be used as a catalyst for polymerization processing, and as a sanitation and Laundry souring agent; order at LCIltd). Sodium fluoride is a chemical used in foundry fluxes, insecticides, enamels, glass mixes, electroplating, water fluoridation, dentrifice fluoride, and other applications
Critical materials for the manufacture of Tabun are phosphorus oxychloride or phosphorus trichloride; sodium cyanide; dimethlyamine; ethyl alcohol.
Tabun’s precursors have a myriad of commercial uses, including in the manufacturing of solvents, rocket fuel, rubber vulacanization accelerators, pesticides, surfactants, photographic chemicals, corrosion inhibitors, explosives, dyes and pharmaceuticals. Other precursors are used in rayon and nylon industry to improve the tensile strength, and as powerful solvents, as well as in the manufacture of a number of important industrial, agricultural and pharmaceutical chemicals.