US nukes were revealed to still be in storage in Holland by former Prime Minister Ruud Lubbers on Monday. This is the first time it has been made public the fact that nuclear weapons from the United States are being housed on Dutch soil.
Currently, 22 nuclear bombs are in storage in Volkel Air Base in Barabant, Holland according to former Dutch Prime Minister Lubbers, who held office for 12 years at the end of the Cold War. The weapons have been identified as B61 gravity nuclear bombs.
In 2009 WikiLeaks released confidential information showing that US missile weaponry was being stored in Holland, but this is the first time a government official has confirmed their existence on Dutch soil.
Said Lubbers, regarding the 22 nuclear bombs in northern Holland:
“I would never have thought those silly things would still be there in 2013. I think they are an absolutely pointless part of a tradition in military thinking.”
The 2009 leaks suggested that US nuclear weapons have been in storage at the Dutch air base since the 1960s, during the height of Cold War tensions.
The leaked information also pointed to the likelihood that at least 200 similar bombs are in storage in various European nations including Germany, Italy, Turkey, and Belgium.
Former Prime Minister Lubbers’ revelation and statement came at a time that the Obama administration has begun to reverse course on promises to reduce US and global nuclear arsenals.
In recent months the president has revealed a plan to upgrade the European nuclear arsenal with new tail fins to enable their use in F35 fighter-bombers as guided weapons. It is estimated that the conversion program will cost over half a billion dollars.
US nukes being stored in Holland may not come as a surprise to many, however the former Dutch Prime Minister’s remarks are beginning to garner strong reactions and adding fuel to the current debate in the US regarding its nuclear arsenal.
[Image via Wikipedia / US Dept. of Defense]