Nukewatch Quarterly Winter 2013-2014
BANGOR, Washington — The Ground Zero Center for Nonviolent Action and Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility have filed a federal lawsuit against the Navy in Washington State, challenging construction of a second weapons handling wharf at the Bangor Trident base in Kitsap County. The Navy does not have permission from the Pentagon’s Explosives Safety Board to construct the controversial wharf, but they’re doing it anyway. The wharf sits next to an existing submarine dock where nuclear weapons are loaded and unloaded from eight existing Trident submarines. Concern over the $715 million, three-year project regards the handling of the missiles, each containing volatile rocket fuel equal to 155,000 pounds of TNT. With two Trident subs potentially undergoing upgrades at the same time, the risks double — something the Navy refuses to acknowledge. No study has been undertaken to determine the effect of a chain reaction-type explosion at two Bangor wharfs. One Navy memo claims, “There are no new increased risks.” Up to 240 nuclear warheads can be on each submarine, as there are ten warheads on each of 24 ICBMs — all with a range of 6,500 miles. The Navy claims construction of the second wharf is legal because it accepts responsibility for potential accidents, the risk of which it puts at one-in-a-million.
— KOMO News Radio, Seattle, Oct. 28; Law360, Oct. 29; Seattle Weekly News, Nov. 4, 2013