Although many decisions about nuclear weapons are made in Washington, DC rather than Washington State, state-level legislation taking a stance on issues or policies can still be very important in changing national and even international decisions on nuclear issues. This memo offers an overview of past state-level initiatives in Washington to reduce nuclear risks and identifies future steps the Washington legislature could take to further reduce nuclear risks.
Most of the United States’ submarine fleet armed with nuclear missiles is based at Kitsap/Bangor Naval Base, 20 miles west of Seattle. This naval base hosts the most deployed nuclear weapons anywhere in the United States. Although Kitsap/Bangor Naval Base brings many jobs to Washington State, the heavy presence of nuclear weapons here also makes the area a target for a nuclear attack from another country, and raises the risks that if an accident involving nuclear weapons occured, nearby residents would be affected. Consequently, it is important for the Washington State Legislature to take steps to reduce nuclear risks.