Are there nuclear weapons in the Bay Area? Yes

The Center for Arms Control and Proliferation has a new Google Earth-based map locating nuclear weapons in the United States. “Are There Nuclear Weapons In Your Neighborhood” lists one site in the SF Bay Area: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, which it describes as:

“One of three laboratories in the United States where classified work on the science and engineering design of nuclear weapons is undertaken.”

Although it’s possible that actual, functioning nuclear weapons are present at LLNL, given the danger of nuclear weapons it seems unlikely. Nuclear weapons seem like the kind of thing better worked on in the safety of subcomponents. But what does this blog know?

Incidentally, this represents a historic low in the history of nuclear weapons in the Bay Area. Previously nukes were stored at Concord Naval Weapons Station, which in turn stored them for the former Mare Island Naval Shipyard and the former Alameda Naval Air Station. Nuclear weapons were also stationed at the various Nike Missile sites dotted throughout the Bay Area.

Update: According to Trinity Atomic Test Site, there has been at least one nuclear accident at Lawrence Livermore National Lab:


Livermore, Calif., Mar. 26, 1963

A nuclear excursion and subsequent fire took place during a subcritical experiment in a shielded vault designed for critical assembly experiments. The excursion was estimated at 4 X 1017 fissions and was followed by oxidation of the enriched uranium metal in the assembly.

The cause of the excursion is believed to have been directly attributable to mechanical failure.

The total property loss was $94,881.

Criticality is what powers nuclear reactors. Reaching criticality outside of a reactor is not good.

This entry was posted in Concord Naval Weapons Station, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Nike Missile Sites, U.S. Navy. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply