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Netherlands Disputes U.S. Nuclear Security Report

The Netherlands yesterday rebuffed a U.S. Air Force study's finding that U.S. nuclear weapons at a Dutch air base are being stored in conditions below Defense Department security standards, the Federation of American Scientists said (see GSN, June 19).

The February report faults "most" nuclear storage sites in Europe and states that upgrading security at the facilities would require "significant additional resources."

Responding to a question about the Blue Ribbon Review at a meeting of the Dutch parliament's defense committee, Dutch Defense Minister Eimert van Middelkoop said:  "Safety and security at Volkel [Air Base] are in good order, but the government of the Netherlands does not make any announcements concerning the presence or absence of nuclear weapons embodying that single Dutch nuclear mission."

The Dutch air base is believed to hold between 10 and 20 U.S. B-61 gravity bombs that Dutch F-16 fighter jets would deploy during wartime.  The weapons are part of a nuclear arsenal of about 200 U.S. bombs at six bases in five countries across Europe (Hans Kristensen, Federation of American Scientists release, July 1).

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