SENECA MAKES N.Y. NO. 2 IN NUKES
by Jack Anderson
Syracuse Post-Standard June 14, 1985
Newsclipping provided by Jane Begley
In the 40 years since the first atomic bomb exploded, the world has rushed headlong down the path of nuclear proliferation. So far, the possession of nuclear weapons by five major powers has acted as a successful deterrent.
But the possibility is growing that the nuclear arsenal is getting out of control. Familiarity seems to have bred contempt for the consequences of a nuclear exchange; officials in Washington – and presumably in the other nuclear-power capitals – are thinking what was once called the unthinkable.
Consider the testimony of a top Strategic Air Command general at a closed session of the Senate Armed Services Committee. According to the transcript, he made the obligatory bow to “the complex interaction of many elements” that add up to deterrence, but then said ominously; “However, should deterrence fail between strategic nuclear powers, all but one of these factors become irrelevant, and we must then look to the ultimate measure of merit: raw military power.”
The general proceeded to plead the case for deploying more nuclear warheads in this country and abroad.
We doubt that even the experts of the Strategic Air Command, let alone President Reagan and his advisors have a clear idea of just how extensive the nuclear arsenal has become. A fresh picture is presented in a new book, “Nuclear Battlefields: Global Links in the Arms Race,” by William Arkin and Richard Fieldhouse.
With a minimum of rhetoric and a maximum of mind-numbing facts and figures, the book lists every nuclear warhead in every facility related to the production and deployment of nuclear weapons.
The greatest shock for most Americans will be the discovery that there are nuclear warheads practically in their back yards. Only 22 states and the District of Columbia have no nuclear warheads within their borders. The greatest contiguous warhead-free zone is a roughly Y-shaped, 15-state cordon sanitaire stretching from the Atlantic Ocean (Deleware and Maryland) to the Mississippi River, north to the Canadian border (Minnesota) and south to the Gulf of Mexico (Alabama and Mississippi).
There also is a chart that ranks the states by the number of warheads and also by nuclear facilities. Surprisingly, the two states with the most nuclear weapons are on the eastern seaboard, not the Great Plains where the intercontinental ballistic missiles are deployed.
South Carolina heads the list with 1,962 warheads. The Navy weapons stations at Charleston stores 1,482 warheads, mostly as spares for submarines being overhauled. Three subs berthed there account for the remaining 480.
Second is New York, with 1,900 warheads, most of which are at Seneca Army Depot in the Finger Lakes region. A secret Pentagon report we have obtained discloses that the Army has been stockpiling warheads for neutron bombs there since 1981. These and other warheads were made from nuclear material recovered from 1,200 “retired” 8-inch artillery shells, which yielded about 78 tons of highly enriched uranium or alloys.
The rest of the Top 10 and the number of nuclear warheads in each are North Dakota (1,510); California (1,437); Washington state (1,172); Michigan and Texas (630 each); Virginia (542); Louisiana (530); and Arkansas (430).