50 Facts About U.S. Nuclear Weapons

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    1. Cost of the Manhattan Project (through August 1945): $20,000,000,000
    SOURCES: Richard G. Hewlett and Oscar E. Anderson, Jr., The New World: A History of the United States Atomic Energy Commission, Volume 1, 1939/1946 (Oak Ridge, Tennessee: U.S. AEC Technical Information Center, 1972), pp. 723-724; Condensed AEC Annual Financial Report, FY 1953 (in Fifteenth Semiannual Report of the Atomic Energy Commission, January 1954, p. 73)
    2. Total number of nuclear missiles built, 1951-present: 67,500
    U.S. Nuclear Weapons Cost Study Project
    3. Estimated construction costs for more than 1,000 ICBM launch pads and silos, and support facilities, from 1957-1964: nearly $14,000,000,000
    Maj. C.D. Hargreaves, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Ballistic Missile Construction Office (CEBMCO), "Introduction to the CEBMCO Historical Report and History of the Command Section, Pre-CEBMCO Thru December 1962," p. 8; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Ballistic Missile Construction Office, "U.S. Air Force ICBM Construction Program," undated chart (circa 1965)
    4. Total number of nuclear bombers built, 1945-present: 4,680
    U.S. Nuclear Weapons Cost Study Project
    5. Peak number of nuclear warheads and bombs in the stockpile/year: 32,193/1966
    Natural Resources Defense Council, Nuclear Weapons Databook Project
    6. Total number and types of nuclear warheads and bombs built, 1945-1990: more than 70,000/65 types
    U.S. Department of Energy; Natural Resources Defense Council, Nuclear Weapons Databook Project
    7. Number currently in the stockpile (2002): 10,600 (7,982 deployed, 2,700 hedge/contingency stockpile)
    Natural Resources Defense Council, Nuclear Weapons Databook Project
    8. Number of nuclear warheads requested by the Army in 1956 and 1957: 151,000
    History of the Custody and Deployment of Nuclear Weapons, July 1945 Through September 1977, Prepared by the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Atomic Energy), February 1978, p. 50 (formerly Top Secret)
    9. Projected operational U.S. strategic nuclear warheads and bombs after full enactment of the Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty in 2012: 1,700-2,200
    U.S. Department of Defense; Natural Resources Defense Council, Nuclear Weapons Databook Project
    10. Additional strategic and non-strategic warheads not limited by the treaty that the U.S. military wants to retain as a "hedge" against unforeseen future threats: 4,900
    U..S. Department of Defense; Natural Resources Defense Council, Nuclear Weapons Databook Project
    11. Largest and smallest nuclear bombs ever deployed: B17/B24 (~42,000 lbs., 10-15 megatons); W54 (51 lbs., .01 kilotons, .02 kilotons-1 kiloton)
    Natural Resources Defense Council, Nuclear Weapons Databook Project
    12. Peak number of operating domestic uranium mines (1955): 925
    Nineteenth Semiannual Report of the Atomic Energy Commission, January 1956, p. 31
    13. Fissile material produced: 104 metric tons of
    plutonium and 994 metric tons of highly-enriched
    uranium
    U.S. Department of Energy
    14. Amount of plutonium still in weapons: 43 metric tons
    Natural Resources Defense Council, Nuclear Weapons Databook Project
    15. Number of thermometers which could be filled with mercury used to produce lithium-6 at the Oak Ridge Reservation: 11 billion
    U.S. Department of Energy
    16. Number of dismantled plutonium "pits" stored at the Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas: 12,067 (as of May 6, 1999)
    U.S. Department of Energy
    17. States with the largest number of nuclear weapons (in 1999): New Mexico (2,450), Georgia (2,000), Washington (1,685), Nevada (1,350), and North Dakota (1,140)
    William M. Arkin, Robert S. Norris, and Joshua Handler, Taking Stock: Worldwide Nuclear Deployments 1998 (Washington, D.C.: Natural Resources Defense Council, March 1998)
    18. Total known land area occupied by U.S. nuclear weapons bases and facilities: 15,654 square miles
    U.S. Nuclear Weapons Cost Study Project
    19. Total land area of the District of Columbia, Massachusetts, and New Jersey: 15,357 square miles
    Rand McNally Road Atlas and Travel Guide, 1992
    20. Legal fees paid by the Department of Energy to fight lawsuits from workers and private citizens concerning nuclear weapons production and testing activities, from October 1990 through March 1995: $97,000,000
    U.S. Department of Energy
    21. Money paid by the State Department to Japan following fallout from the 1954 "Bravo" test: $15,300,000
    Barton C. Hacker, Elements of Controversy: The Atomic Energy Commission and Radiation Safety in Nuclear Weapons Testing, 1947 -1974, University of California Press, 1994, p. 158
    22. Money and non-monetary compensation paid by the the United States to Marshallese Islanders since 1956 to redress damages from nuclear testing: at least $759,000,000
    U.S. Nuclear Weapons Cost Study Project
    23. Money paid to U.S. citizens under the Radiation Exposure and Compensation Act of 1990, as of January 13, 1998: approximately $225,000,000 (6,336 claims approved; 3,156 denied)
    U.S. Department of Justice, Torts Branch, Civil Division
    24. Total cost of the Aircraft Nuclear Propulsion (ANP) program, 1946-1961: $7,000,000,000
    "Aircraft Nuclear Propulsion Program," Report of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy, September 1959, pp. 11-12
    25. Total number of nuclear-powered aircraft and airplane hangars built: 0 and 1
    Ibid; "American Portrait: ANP," WFAA-TV (Dallas), 1993. Between July 1955 and March 1957, a specially modified B-36 bomber made 47 flights with a three megawatt air-cooled operational test reactor (the reactor, however, did not power the plane).
    26. Number of secret Presidential Emergency Facilities built for use during and after a nuclear war: more than 75
    Bill Gulley with Mary Ellen Reese, Breaking Cover, Simon and Schuster, 1980, pp. 34- 36
    27. Currency stored until 1988 by the Federal Reserve at its Mount Pony facility for use after a nuclear war: more than $2,000,000,000
    Edward Zuckerman, The Day After World War III, The Viking Press, 1984, pp. 287-88
    28. Amount of silver in tons once used at the Oak Ridge, TN, Y-12 Plant for electrical magnet coils: 14,700
    Vincent C. Jones, Manhattan: The Army and the Bomb, U.S. Army Center for Military History, 1985, pp. 66-7
    29. Total number of U.S. nuclear weapons tests, 1945-1992: 1,030 (1,125 nuclear devices detonated; 24 additional joint tests with Great Britain)
    U.S. Department of Energy
    30. First and last test: July 16, 1945 ("Trinity") and September 23, 1992 ("Divider")
    U.S. Department of Energy
    31. Estimated amount spent between October 1, 1992 and October 1, 1995 on nuclear testing activities: $1,200,000,000 (0 tests)
    U.S. Nuclear Weapons Cost Study Project
    32. Cost of 1946 Operation Crossroads weapons tests ("Able" and "Baker") at Bikini Atoll: $1,300,000,000
    Weisgall, Operation Crossroads, pp. 294, 371
    33. Largest U.S. explosion/date: 15 Megatons/March 1, 1954 ("Bravo")
    U.S. Department of Energy
    34. Number of islands in Enewetak atoll vaporized
    by the November 1, 1952 "Mike" H-bomb test: 1
    Chuck Hansen, U.S. Nuclear Weapons: The Secret History, Orion Books, 1988, pp. 58-59, 95
    35. Number of nuclear tests in the Pacific: 106
    Natural Resources Defense Council, Nuclear Weapons Databook Project
    36. Number of U.S. nuclear tests in Nevada: 911
    Natural Resources Defense Council, Nuclear Weapons Databook Project
    37. Number of nuclear weapons tests in Alaska [1, 2, and 3], Colorado [1 and 2], Mississippi and New Mexico [1, 2 and 3]: 10
    Natural Resources Defense Council, Nuclear Weapons Databook Project
    38. Operational naval nuclear propulsion reactors vs. operational commercial power reactors (in 1999): 129 vs. 108
    Adm. Bruce DeMars, Deputy Assistant Director for Naval Reactors, U.S. Navy; Nuclear Regulatory Commission
    39. Number of attack (SSN) and ballistic missile (SSBN) submarines (2002): 53 SSNs and 18 SSBNs
    Adm. Bruce DeMars, Deputy Assistant Director for Naval Reactors, U.S. Navy
    40. Number of high level radioactive waste tanks in Washington, Idaho and South Carolina: 239
    U.S. Department of Energy
    41. Volume in cubic meters of radioactive waste resulting from weapons activities: 104,000,000
    U.S. Department of Energy; Institute for Energy and Environmental Research
    42. Number of designated targets for U.S. weapons in the Single Integrated Operational Plan (SIOP) in 1976, 1986, and 1995: 25,000 (1976), 16,000 (1986) and 2,500 (1995)
    Bruce Blair, Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution
    43. Cost of January 17, 1966 nuclear weapons accident over Palomares, Spain (including two lost planes, an extended search and recovery effort, waste disposal in the U.S. and settlement claims): $182,000,000
    Joint Committee on Atomic Energy Interoffice Memorandum, February 15, 1968; Center for Defense Information
    44. Number of U.S. nuclear bombs lost in accidents and never recovered: 11
    U.S. Department of Defense; Center for Defense Information; Greenpeace; "Lost Bombs," Atwood-Keeney Productions, Inc., 1997
    45. Number of Department of Energy federal employees (in 1996): 18,608
    U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Worker and Community Transition
    46. Number of Department of Energy contractor employees (in 1996): 109,242
    U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Worker and Community Transition
    47. Minimum number of classified pages estimated to be in the Department of Energy's possession (1995): 280 million
    A Review of the Department of Energy Classification Policy and Practice, Committee on Declassification of Information for the Department of Energy Environmental Remediation and Related Programs, National Research Council, 1995, pp. 7-8, 68.
    48. Ballistic missile defense spending in 1965 vs. 1995: $2,200,000,000 vs. $2,600,000,000
    U.S. Nuclear Weapons Cost Study Project
    49. Average cost per warhead to the U.S. to help Kazakhstan dismantle 104 SS-18 ICBMs carrying more than 1,000 warheads: $70,000
    U.S. Nuclear Weapons Cost Study Project; Arms Control Association
    50. Estimated 1998 spending on all U.S. nuclear weapons and weapons-related programs: $35,100,000,000

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50 Facts About Nuclear Weapons