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Navy Seeks 2nd Explosives Handling Wharf at Bangor Naval Base

Is a 2nd Wharf REALLY Necessary?

July 8, 2009

After deciding to pursue a second Explosive Handling Wharf at Bangor Naval base, the Navy is currently in the legally mandated process of reviewing its environmental consequences.  The Navy is welcoming public input towards this project and its alternatives (see below). The current Explosives Handling Wharf (EHW) at Bangor services the eight Trident ballistic-missile submarines stationed there, and is needed to load and unload missiles and torpedoes.  A Nuclear submarine carries 24 D-5 Trident missiles, each missile containing 4-6 warheads. [1]

 

Navy’s justification:

Having recently upgraded the sub’s munitions to more sophisticated D-5s, which take twice as much time as older C-4 missiles take to service and maintain, the Navy says that a second EHW is necessary. However, Joe Graf, from the Navy’s Strategic Systems Programs, said to local media that the current EHW can handle the workload today; rather, it is looking towards a future workload. [2]  A second EHW would also be required when the original EHW needs maintenance.  There are 2 current building proposals as well as a 3rd no-action alternative (For more on alternatives, see the project’s website here: https://ehw.nbkeis.com/_Docs/NBKEHW_ProposedAction.pdf )

 

Why WPSR opposes new EHW:

WPSR questions the timing and rationale of a new EHW at Bangor.  As WPSR member Dr. Dave Hall said: “Given that the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review may well change the demand for Trident nuclear weapons, and given the extensive work already done on EWH1 at Bangor, the current request to continue operations at a Cold War level onto 2042 makes no sense.   

Dr. Hall also called into question the D-5 missiles themselves, which “are WMDs and have no military use.”  He joins a growing group of officials, including three retired generals in the UK who recently penned an op-ed in the London Times opposing their government’s move to upgrade their Trident program, stating that the country’s nuclear deterrent was “virtually irrelevant.”  “Nuclear weapons have shown themselves to be completely useless as a deterrent to the threats and scale of violence we currently, or are likely to, face — particularly international terrorism,” they wrote. [3]

Each individual thermonuclear warhead in the D-5 carries a 100 or a staggering 455 kiloton yield.  By comparison, the bomb detonated over Hiroshima, which killed between 90,000-160,000 people was only 15 kilotons.[4]  PSR joins a growing group of officials who say that nuclear weapons of this sort are not only obsolete but threaten much of human life.

 

WPSR Joins President Obama’s call for disarmament and adherence to NPT:

            WPSR applauds Pres. Obama’s recent remarks in Prague, during which he stated America’s commitment to work towards “a world without nuclear weapons.” He also promised to “strengthen the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty” and “reduce the role of nuclear weapons in our national security strategy.” [5] Article VI of the NPT requires parties to take “good faith measures” towards disarmament. [6] That obligation, talk of reducing the role of our nuclear weapons, as well as recent developments regarding Russia and further reductions, seriously call into question the Navy’s preparation for an increased future workload and thus a second EHW.

 

IMPORTANT:  WPSR Urges Citizens to Send Comments to the Navy Regarding a 2nd EHW

Comments Must Be In BEFORE July 17, 2009

You can comment online here https://ehw.nbkeis.com/Comment.aspx

Or it can also be mailed to Department of the Navy, Strategic Systems Programs, Public Affairs Officer, 2521 South Clark St., Suite 1000, Arlington, VA 22202-3930

 

For further information on the proposed EHW, see the following resources:

Ed Friedrich, “Some Wondering Why Navy Needs New Wharf at Bangor,” Kitsap Sun, June 24, 2009

http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2009/jun/24/some-wondering-why-navy-needs-new-wharf-at/?partner=RSS

Ed Friedrich, “Navy Wants to Build Explosives Handling Wharf After All,” Kitsap Sun, June 21, 2009

http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2009/jun/21/navy-wants-to-build-explosives-handling-wharf/

Op-ed opposed to 2nd EHW: MY TURN: Bangor Doesn't Need a Second Explosives Wharf

 http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2009/jun/26/my-turn-bangor-doesnt-need-a-second-explosives/

The project’s website

https://ehw.nbkeis.com/Welcome.aspx

The timeline of the  Environmental Impact Statement process https://ehw.nbkeis.com/_Docs/NBKEHW_NepaProcess.pdf

 

 

Please contact WPSR if you need more information.

wpsr@wpsr.org

206.547.2630

Footnotes

[1] “Nuclear Notebook: U.S. nuclear forces, 2009,” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, March/April 2009 http://www.thebulletin.org/files/065002008.pdf

[2] Ed Friedrich, “Some Wondering Why Navy Needs New Wharf at Bangor,” Kitsap Sun, June 24, 2009 http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2009/jun/24/some-wondering-why-navy-needs-new-wharf-at/?partner=RSS

[3] “UK does not need a nuclear deterrent,” Sunday Times, January 16, 2009 http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/letters/article5525682.ece

[4] Radiation Effects Research Foundation  http://www.rerf.or.jp/general/qa_e/qa1.html

[5] Remarks By President Barack Obama, April 5, 2009 http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/Remarks-By-President-Barack-Obama-In-Prague-As-Delivered/

[6] Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, Federation of American Scientists, http://www.fas.org/nuke/control/npt/

 

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