Cold War Legacy Not A Post-Dismantlement Environmental Concern

Fact Sheet 085-02



Standing ready to defend our country or to assure mutual destruction, the mid-west’s contribution to nuclear proliferation of the 60s and 70s resided innocuously beneath concrete slabs in Missouri’s cornfields. In June 1961, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) implemented a plan to place 150 intercontinental ballistic missiles in west-central Missouri. The missile was the solid propellant Minuteman series rocket capable of accurately delivering three nuclear warheads to targets halfway around the world. Cold war tensions at the time necessitated quick deployment of this national defense system. Construction of the missile launch facilities in Missouri began in April 1962 and within 26 months the entire system was completed and on full-alert status.

Suggested Citation

Witt, E.C., III, 2002, Cold War legacy not a post-dismantlement environmental concern: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 085–02, 4 p.,

ISSN: 2327-6932 (online)

Table of Contents

  • Background
  • Missile Launch Facilities
  • Dismantlement of Launch Facilities
  • Contaminants of Concern
  • Federal Facility Compliance Agreement
  • Long-Term Monitoring Network
  • Sample Collection
  • Monitoring Results
  • References Cited

Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Cold War legacy not a post-dismantlement environmental concern
Series title Fact Sheet
Series number 085-02
DOI 10.3133/fs08502
Year Published 2002
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Missouri Water Science Center
Description 4 p.
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