Here is what’s really going on.
For the last fifty years the 6th Fleet has been headquartered near Naples, Italy. There are no shore bases in Italy for the roughly 1,100 Marines assigned to the fleet. The fleet is routinely called the Mediterranean fleet but the area it controls includes most of the eastern Atlantic and south western Indian oceans. (See map at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... ). The U.S. has only ten full sized aircraft carriers and none are operating in the Med right now The real action is in the Indian ocean and the western Pacific facing China. http://www.gonavy.jp/CVLocatio....
For some reason the U.S. government and NATO have decided to move the Naples headquarters to Rota, Spain, which is potentially a much larger facility that Naples, with room for a few thousand Marines on shore.
Of course Spain wants something in return and we had to get the deal done before the Spanish election, which might bring in a leftist government. The best article on the deal is, as usual, in the British newspaper the Guardian http://www.theguardian.com/wor.... To quote from the article (paragraph brakes removed):
“The Palomares clean-up deal is seen by many as a sweetener in exchange for Spain agreeing to Washington ramping up its military presence in the country. The number of marine personnel at the base in Morón in southern Spain is to be increased from 850 to 2,200, and to 3,000 in the event of a crisis. Meanwhile, the US navy base at Rota, near Cádiz, is set to become the largest in the Mediterranean. Talks with Spain’s right-wing government over the military build-up have intensified in recent months amid fears that a government less sympathetic to Washington’s strategic aims may be elected in December. Barack Obama said during the King of Spain’s visit to Washington in September that a change of government might harm bilateral relations. Kerry refused to comment on the possible outcome of the election but said that the US supports “a strong and united Spain”, a clear reference to the Catalan region’s aspiration to break away and become independent.”
So in the end the U.S. gets roughly 50,000 cubic meters of irradiated soil- how irradiated is still unclear. 50,000 meters equals roughly 80,000 tons. If the dirt is packaged first, it will take two-or-three medium-sized shiploads to get it to the U.S. and the equivalent of roughly 1,000 railroad freight cars or 2,000-3,000 forty-foot containers to move the dirt inside the U.S. My guess is railroad cars.
The present speculation says it will go to Idaho but I’m not sure. There is always the example of the USS Sturgis https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... which had a small reactor that suffered damage during storms in the 1960s and 1970s. The ship had not been designed so the interior of the reactor room could be cleaned by water spray. So for 40 years the ship was stored in Quantico and on the James river, too hot to dismantle and yet not really a danger.
Finally I should say I’m not clear on why the U.S. and NATO have decided to move to Rota although I’ll throw out a few possibilities. First, it may be hard to find places to train in the central Med because