Where the Bombs Are
Ever wondered where all those
nukes are stored? A new review published in the November/December issue
of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists shows that the United States stores its nearly 10,000 nuclear warheads
at 18 locations in 12 states and six European countries. The article's authors - Hans M. Kristensen of the Federation of American
Scientists and Robert S. Norris of the Natural Resources Defense Council - identified the likely locations by piecing together information from years of monitoring declassified documents, officials
statements, news reports, leaks, conversations with current and former officials, and commercial high-resolution satellite
The highest concentration
of nuclear warheads is at the Strategic Weapons Facility Pacific in Bangor, Washington, which is home to more than 2,300 warheads – probably
the most nuclear weapons at any one site in the world. At any given moment, nearly half of these warheads are on board ballistic-missile
submarines in the Pacific Ocean. Approximately
1,700 warheads are deployed on Ohio-class ballistic missile submarines operating in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, and about
400 warheads are at eight bases in six European countries – Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey and Great
Britain (for more information on U.S. warheads in Europe, go to http://www.nukestrat.com/us/afn/nato.htm). The United States is the only nuclear weapon state that deploys nuclear weapons in foreign countries.
Consolidation of U.S. nuclear storage sites has slowed considerably over the past decade compared
to the period between 1992 and 1997, when the Pentagon withdrew nuclear weapons from 10 states and numerous European bases.
Over the past decade, the United States removed nuclear weapons from three states – California, Virginia and South Dakota, and from one European country - Greece.
The overview finds
that more than two-thirds of all U.S. nuclear warheads are still stored at bases for operational ballistic missiles and bombers, even through the Cold War
ended more than 16 years ago. More than 2,000 of those warheads are on high alert, ready to launch on short notice.
Only about 28 percent of U.S. warheads have been
moved to separate storage facilities. The largest of these, an underground vault at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico, stores more than 1,900 warheads.
The 10 U.S. sites
that currently host nuclear weapons are: the Strategic Weapons Facility Pacific, Bangor, Washington; Nellis Air Force Base,
Nevada; Warren Air Force Base, Wyoming; Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico; Malmstrom Air Force Base, Montana; Minot Air
Force Base, North Dakota; Pantex Plant, Texas; Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana; Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri; and
the Strategic Weapons Facility Atlantic, Kings Bay, Georgia. (See map.)
The U.S. government refuses to disclose where it stores nuclear weapons, but the
researchers emphasize that all the locations have been known for years to house nuclear weapons. Safety of nuclear weapons
is determined not by knowledge of their location but by the military's physical protection of the facilities and that the
weapons cannot be detonated by unauthorized personnel.
listing of the bomb locations is at http://www.thebulletin.org/article_nn.php?art_ofn=nd06norris