The Navy’s “Historic Radiological Assessment” team made a public report to the local Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) that addressed numerous rumors and suspicions for the past 6 decades. The RAB is made up of government, Navy and community representatives, this author being amongst the last group representing Concord. It was stated and summarized as follows:
- There were atomic weapons stored in the Inland Area.
- There was regular testing on the components in the Inland Area.
- There were 35 bunkers in a Special Weapons area that were designated as being used.
- The bunkers and area will be fully tested for any/all contamination issues including radiation and Tritium, using Geiger Counters, Swabs and other devices.
There is no indication that there is now or has ever been a problem to the community and that the further testing, “scoping” in Navy terms, is being done as part of a professional high quality assurance to certify that everything is OK for the release of the site to any future buyers.
The area of these bunkers can be seen from Willow Pass Road as your approach Highway 4 looking South East, there is a set of bunkers set aside surrounded by a double wire fence with telephone poles surrounding it with floodlights on them. It was called in various documents: the Alpha Site or in RAB records as Site 22 Bunker Group 2.
Other points that came up that may fill in some of the questions about atomic weapons and the Inland Area.
There is no underground multi level complex with railroads and such. Though some of the bunkers may be extra long (reported as around 100 feet). The period of atomic weapon storage was ended “long ago”, but the implication elsewhere is that they removed more than 25 years ago and maybe into the late 70′s. There was no discussion as to where they went, nor will there be any information on that for obvious reasons.
There were several structures outside that area closer to Highway 4 that were used for testing munitions the employed radiological materials and they will also be ‘scoped’ but again there is no indication that at anytime there was a problem. In the main ‘Bunker City’ area opposite the Dana Estates there were 6 bunkers that housed ammunition for the Phalanx Weapon System that used depleted Uranium bullets. This material is about 1/3 denser than lead, which is why it makes for a better bullet for this weapon system. Again there is no indication of any problem but as standard requirements they will be tested.
As an aside, these weapons would have put Concord in the Cold War period as somewhere between China and France as the largest atomic power in the world.
The Special Weapons Bunker area is designated on the CNWS Reuse Plan approved unanimously by the City Council last Fall, is where the Plan calls for the placement of low density ‘Estate’ style housing. We now can call it Geiger Ville to go with the other villages planned in the Bunker City area.