The lovely Elizabeth and I spent the better part of the last week driving across country, to set up the winter Defense Tech HQ in Los Angeles. We didn't realize how many nuclear weapons we passed along the way: the old warheads at the Pantex facility, just outside Amarillo; the 1,914 doomsday devices at Kirtland Air Force Base, in Albuquerque.When we drive back in the Spring, we'll know. Because the wonks at the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Federation of American Scientists have teamed up to make a Google Earth map of the nearly nearly 10,000 nuclear warheads in the U.S. arsenal.The satellite map - drawn from this Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists study -- "offers a fresh accounting of the extensive U.S. nuclear inventory, and its dynamic graphics let site users 'fly' onscreen across a sprawling network of military facilities in 12 states and in Europe," a press release reads.
The researchers emphasize that none of the locations is secret. All have been known for years to house nuclear weapons and are highly secure military facilities that do not pose a direct security risk to surrounding communities...The U.S. nuclear arsenal currently is housed at 18 military facilities in 12 states and six European countries. The highest concentration 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 aboard ballistic-missile submarines in the Pacific...Over the past decade, the United States has removed nuclear weapons from three states California, Virginia and South Dakota and one foreign country, Greece. And during that time, the estimated number of nuclear weapons in the U.S. stockpile dropped from approximately 12,500 to just below 10,000. At its height, in the mid-1960s, the U.S. stockpile boasted some 32,000 warheads...[Today], more than two-thirds of the warheads are stored at bases for operational ballistic missiles and bombers. Only about 28 percent of the warheads have been moved to separate storage facilities, such as the massive underground vault at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which stores more than 1,900 warheads the second largest cache in the arsenal.Hmmm... maybe we'll take the Northern route home.