It’s Ranked Fourth in Number of Warheads Stockpiled : California Has Most Nuclear Warfare Sites, Book Says

Times Staff Writer

California has more military installations assigned nuclear-warfare responsibilities than any other state and ranks fourth in the number of nuclear warheads stockpiled, according to two defense researchers.

A total of 1,437 nuclear warheads are stored in the state, ranked behind South Carolina, New York and North Dakota, researchers William M. Arkin and Richard W. Fieldhouse said in a book, “Nuclear Battlefields,” made available Thursday.

In their list of military facilities with missions related to nuclear war, Arkin and Fieldhouse included not only major installations at which bombers and submarines and other vessels are based, but also radar and electronic sites involved in communications and early warning operations.


Concern at Pentagon

At the Pentagon, spokesman Michael I. Burch said he was concerned “that all of Mr. Arkin’s information may not have come from open sources.”

A statement issued by the Institute for Policy Studies, a research organization that grew out of the anti-war movement of the 1960s, said that Arkin and Fieldhouse, affiliated with the institute, received their material from government documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, congressional hearings and reports, military reports and manuals and data given to them by government sources.

Burch said he had not seen the book and added: “From my limited knowledge of deployments, I don’t think (their) figures are accurate. Yet I’m in the difficult position of not being able to straighten them out . . . since we never confirm or deny the presence of nuclear weapons.”

Longstanding Policy

Under longstanding U.S. policy, the government has refused to comment on the presence of nuclear warheads and other such weapons in foreign countries or at bases in the United States.

The book asserts that 14,599 warheads are deployed in 28 states. In addition, it says eight foreign nations--West Germany, Britain, Italy, Turkey, Greece, South Korea, the Netherlands and Belgium--have stockpiled an additional 6,100 U.S. nuclear warheads.

The authors also said that the Soviet Union maintains 251 arsenals in its nuclear warfare structure and 85 such foreign facilities. There are 245 nuclear arsenals in the United States and 348 facilities holding U.S. nuclear weapons in foreign countries, they said. There are more than 50,000 warheads stockpiled around the world, they said.


California Sites Named

According to the book, California sites storing nuclear weapons include:

Castle Air Force Base at Atwater, 150 nuclear bombs and 70 Short Range Attack Missiles, plus F-106 interceptors with Genie nuclear missiles; Concord Naval Weapons Station at Concord, the major depot for Pacific Fleet ammunition ships, 175 nuclear bombs for Navy and Marine Corps aircraft, 45 artillery warheads and 30 Atomic Demolition Munitions for the Marines, and 55 nuclear depth bombs for P-3 aircraft; Mather Air Force Base at Sacramento, 150 nuclear bombs and 60 Short Range Attack Missiles; North Island Naval Air Station at San Diego, 100 nuclear bombs, 32 Terrier warheads, 60 nuclear depth bombs; Point Loma Naval Weapons Station at San Diego, 25 submarine rockets, 55 anti-submarine rockets and about 25 sea-launched cruise missiles; Sierra Army Depot at Herlong, 110 “retired” anti-ballistic missile warheads, 125 nuclear artillery shells, 100 Lance warheads and 60 Atomic Demolition Munitions.

Those and other installations bring to 80 the number of military sites in California assigned missions related to nuclear warfare, according to the authors.

According to biographical notes, Arkin, 29, is a former Army intelligence analyst who writes on military affairs. Fieldhouse, 26, is a research associate in the Institute for Policy Studies’ nuclear weapons research project.