14 May 2005

Top Secret Argentia site - the facts

Friday's Telegram had an editorial which screamed for some clarification.

It spoke of a top secret building at the base, hinting that this might be the place a former Marine Corps soldier said was used to store nuclear weapons. The editorial made it sound like people didn't know what was going on there.

Piffle. That building was known as the "T" Building and is located at the south side of the base. It housed the data processing centre for a section of the Sound Underwater Surveillance System or SOSUS. This was a collection of hydrophones strung across the seabed that listened for Soviet submarines. To the best of my knowledge the T Building is not the building the former Marine is talking about.

In 1963, data from the Argentia SOSUS station was used to help pinpoint the location of a United States Navy submarine that had disappeared after leaving Spain on its way home.

The T Building was a highly sensitive facility since SOSUS was part of the front line defence against Soviet ballistic missile submarines. Not much of a surprise therefore that it was highly guarded and the Americans looked suspiciously on anyone who inquired about it. Does anyone remember Stephen Ratkai? Maybe that's a name for the "Newfoundland and Espionage" posting.

The top secret research facility everyone has been talking about was the SOSUS station - top secret underwater acoustic research.

Were nuclear weapons present at Argentia?


During the Cuban Missile Crisis, complete nuclear weapons were deployed to Argentia. This is one of the major facts that led the federal government to negotiate an agreement with the United States specifically governing American nuclear weapons deployments to Argentia.

At other times, nuclear weapons components were there. That is, the base housed everything except the cores of fissionable material that would produce the atomic explosion of the thing worked properly.

There has been no report of any unusual radiation levels at Argentia. This undermines the story that the site housed large numbers of weapons, that these weapons were improperly stored and that there is a major environmental catastrophe at Argentia being covered up by the US government.

Of all the buildings at Argentia, the T Building was retained in American control after Argentia was closed out. It was refurbished and two large white radar domes were mounted on top as part of the US Air Forces range instrumentation system for the Cape Canaveral launch facility. The T Building continues to be used today, including during the recent Titan 4B launch.

Now you know the facts.

Make up your own mind.