I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones
-Albert Einstein (contemplating nuclear devastation)

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Air Force nuclear transport work falls short at JBLM

Hot off the presses - The Olympian reported yesterday that the active-duty Air Force wing at Joint Base Lewis-McChord that transports nuclear weapons - and just happens to be the only one that does - received an "unsatisfactory" rating following a week long inspection that concluded on Monday.

The article said that the rating resulted from an "isolated incident involving an individual assigned to the mission." Of course, with nuclear weapons there really is NO margin for error, so even an "isolated incident" is significant. No second chances with nukes!!!
62nd Airlift Wing Airmen secure a nuclear cargo training aid inside a C-17 aircraft during a  nuclear airlift mission training exercise. (U.S. Air Force photo/Capt. Casey Collier)

Even with the unsatisfactory rating, you can be sure that the Lewis-McChord nuke movers will continue their mission. After all, they've got a monopoly on the business!  On a positive note, the Prime Nuclear Airlift Force (PNAF) has won safety awards 12 times in 13 years according to its own reporting.  But Then again, when you move "32,000 pounds of nuclear or nuclear-related cargo worldwide" in a single year, nothing short of perfection is acceptable.

Read the article at The Oregonian: Air Force nuclear transport work falls short JBLM: Team tasked with highly sensitive missions gets ‘unsatisfactory’ grade.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Last Day to comment on Second Explosives Handling Wharf Draft EIS

Today is the last day to submit comments on the Supplement to the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) regarding the proposed Trident Naval Base Explosive Handling Wharf (EHW).  We hope to stop this unnecessary and wasteful project.  You can submit your comments directly at the Navy's Website at www.nbkeis.com/EHW.  If you submitted comments on the previous DEIS you can resubmit those comments or add additional comments.

If you need help writing you own comments, here is what Anabel Dwyer submitted:

The Supplement to the Draft EIS regarding the proposed Trident Naval Base Explosive Handling Wharf (EHW) ignores central comments made on the inadequate scope of the Draft EIS. These comments pointed out the known and intended catastrophic environmental consequences of any accidental or purposeful detonation of the Trident nuclear weapon nuclear or conventional explosives. 

The Trident nuclear weapons system including supporting operations such as the EHW are intended and known to be active plans, preparations for threat or use of  uncontrollable and indiscriminate weapons of mass destruction. As such the Trident nuclear system also violates the fundamental rules and principles of humanitarian law (the laws of war)to which the Navy and the US are bound.

For many reasons these proposed construction projects must be abandoned or at least delayed so that the scope of the EIS can be broadened based on honest assessment of facts and law.

1. The Purposes of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to “encourage productive and enjoyable harmony between man and his environment; to promote efforts which will prevent or eliminate damage to the environment and biosphere and stimulate the health and welfare of man” (Sec. 2 [42 USC § 4321]) cannot be met by an EIS or Supplemental EIS which ignores the grave and catastrophic environmental impact of accidental or purposeful detonation of the Trident nuclear and conventional explosives. 
2. The EHW can not at once “prevent damage to the environment and stimulate the health and welfare of man” and at the same time meet the “requirements” of the current and future Trident Ballistic Missile program. The Trident and the EHW are for maintaining active preparations and “exercises” to eliminate tens of millions of people and destroy the ecosystem of the planet.
3. Constant threat, preparation for nuclear annihilation is well understood to be environmentally, legally and morally unacceptable and untenable. The Trident nuclear weapons program can no longer be glossed over or justified as needed or usable for any “strategic deterrent mission.” 
4. The accidental or purposeful detonation of even one of the 4 100 kiloton W-76 nuclear warheads on each of the 24 D-5 missiles on each of the 8 Trident submarines operating in and from the Kitsap-Bangor Naval Base is known and intended to unleash vast heat, blast and radiation at least 7 times that of the Hiroshima bomb.
5. The heat, blast and radiation of even one of the W-76 warheads are uncontrollable and indiscriminate in space or time.
6. The Trident is in plain language a grotesque weapon of mass destruction that violates the Navy’s absolute prohibition against weapons that are incapable of distinguishing between civilian and military targets.
7. Because of the extreme danger of nuclear weapons to our common environment and life on this planet, the United States and all other countries have a legal obligation to “pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects.”

For these reasons among many others we ask you to further extend the scope of your EIS and call hearings on these central and now well understood issues.

Here are a few additional points you can bring up as well:

In its environmental assessment, the Navy stated the 1,250 to 1,500 pilings for the wharf and overwater structure will cause "insignificant" cumulative impacts to Hood Canal. The Navy has not adequately addressed the impacts of the pilings.

One of the four added buildings to the proposed second Explosives Handling Wharf is a new pure water facility for the submarines that covers approximately 0.5 acres along the shoreline of Hood Canal. There is minimal information on this or any other of the new proposed buildings.

The Navy continues to ignore the significant environmental effects of a detonation of the conventional fuel and the possible radioactive contamination (plutonium!!!) that could result due to a missile handling accident. An major incident on November 7, 2004 at Bangor that involved a ladder penetrating a nose cone of a Trident missile, coming within inches of a warhead is a graphic example of this unaddressed envioronmental hazard.

The Navy has acknowledged that it has loaded Trident submarines at the Bangor submarine base for nearly 30 years with the existing wharf. It now claims that it needs the wharf for the so-called Life Extension Program for the Trident D-5 missile. The Navy has stated that in the future, it will need twice the number of "operational days" to handle its 130,000-pound missiles as it does now. Based on the current reduced number of warheads deployed on Trident D-5 missiles (4 versus the previous 8) coupled with the Navy's plans for a replacement ballistic missile submarine the will carry fewer missiles, there is absolutely no need for a replacement wharf based on this rationale.

Submit your comments directly at the Navy's Website at www.nbkeis.com/EHW. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Comment on the Second Explosives Handling Wharf by November 21st!

Many of you have received a postcard from the Navy regarding the availability of the Supplement to the Draft EIS. The Supplement constitutes a delay in the Navy’s EIS program and was required due to omissions in the Draft EIS and new information for assessing impacts to the marbled murrelet, an endangered bird in Hood Canal. The 74-page Supplement is at http://ehw.nbkeis.com.

The comment period for the Supplement to the Draft EIS is through November 21, 2011. Comments may be submitted online at:


or by mail to:

Christine Stevenson, EHW-2 EIS Project Manager
Naval Facilities Engineering Command Northwest
1101 Tautog Circle
Silverdale, WA 98315-1101

There are many issues that can be raised. If you are inclined to submit another statement, it is worthwhile. A sustained effort will be necessary to delay and hopefully stop the second Explosives Handling Wharf at Bangor.

The Navy addresses three issues, and the website states, “the Supplement addresses the methodology used to assess the potential for injurious impacts to the marbled murrelet from impact pile driving; the construction and operation of four new facilities proposed to be built to replace the functions of five buildings to be demolished and the associated infrastructure; and compensatory mitigation options under consideration in regard to Dabob Bay Conservation and Washington State Parks Mitigation.”

The Navy states that previous comments do not need to be submitted again to be considered in the Final EIS. However, we can comment on any issue we wish, any of the three new issues, or any new issue related to the proposed second Explosives Handling Wharf at Bangor.

The final deadline for comments on the Draft EIS had been on May 17, 2011. Since that time many issues have changed. The looming defense cuts are a significant issue which may affect the Trident program.

The Congressional Deficit Reduction Committee, or Super Congress, was created on August 2, 2011. The committee is charged with issuing a recommendation by November 23, 2011 for at least $1.5 trillion in additional deficit reduction steps to be undertaken over a ten‐year period. If the committee fails to agree on a package or the full Congress fails to pass it, a so-called "trigger mechanism" would enact $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts with a split between the national security and domestic programs.

On November 7, 2011, Defense Secretary Panetta announced the consideration of cuts in the nuclear weapons arsenal to help cut DOD spending and balance budgets. These cuts are for the previously announced $450 billion in cuts to defense spending over 10 years. The Deficit Reduction Committee’s cuts to defense spending, or the automatic spending cuts, are in addition to the $450 billion.

Reducing the nuclear arsenal is an obvious choice for the Department of Defense. It is likely the reductions would alleviate the claimed need for the second Explosives Handling Wharf for the Navy. See http://www.globalsecuritynewswire.org/gsn/nw_20111107_7226.php and http://www.military.com/news/article/2011/pentagon-takes-preliminary-look-at-nuclear-cuts.html.

We have also witnessed the unfolding of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster (tsunami on March 11, 2011) which shows how a publicly accepted technology can suddenly become an unexpected tragedy.

In addition, one of the four added buildings to the proposed second Explosives Handling Wharf is a new pure water facility for the submarines that covers approximately 0.5 acres along the shoreline of Hood Canal. It is surprising how little information is given on the new buildings.

If you are inclined, additional statements on this would help our case. These additional statements, as well as previous statements, will be considered in the Final EIS by the Navy.

(Editor's Note:  Thanks to Glen Milner for this post as well as his continuing work to stop the construction of the Second Explosives Handling Wharf at Bangor.)