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Natsios Young Architects

28 June 2002
Source of maps and photos:

From the report Taking Stock: Worldwide Nuclear Deployments 1998, by William M. Arkin, Robert S. Norris and Joshua Handler, published in March 1998 by the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Rank: No. 12

Nuclear Warheads: 160


VIRGINIA ranks 12th (tie) in number of nuclear warheads deployed, a drop from 9th place in 1992. Its single nuclear storage site, the Naval Weapons Station Yorktown, serves attack submarines deployed in the Norfolk area and the Atlantic Fleet. In September 1991 President Bush announced that all tactical nuclear weapons would be removed from ships and submarines. For a time the Naval Weapons Station were filled with several thousand weapons. Later decisions lead to the retirement of most of them leaving only the W80/Tomahawk SLCM. We estimate that the Special Weapons Department at Yorktown now stores half of the inventory of some 320 W80 Tomahawk SLCM warheads.

The Naval Weapons Station was established first as the Naval Mine Depot during World War I. At the time it covered an area of 20 square miles. During World War II the Depot developed mines, depth charges, and new ordnance devices. The former nuclear weapons storage area (WSA) at Yorktown was initially constructed by the AEC between 1951 and 1953 as one of 13 original facilities built for storage, maintenance, and operational readiness of the nuclear stockpile. The transition to nuclear weapons came with the commissioning of Skiffes Creek Annex in July 1953, a storage area separate from the main NWS. The first nuclear weapons arrived in 1954. The complex included two storage buildings with vaults (“A” structures), a maintenance building (“C” structure), one other assembly/maintenance building, storage igloos, and a dry low-level radioactive waste disposal area. The name was changed in 1958 to Naval Weapons Station. Throughout the 1950’s and 1960’s the numbers and types of naval nuclear weapons grew to supply the Atlantic Fleet.


The area below enclosed with double fencing is probably the nuclear warhead storage area.