Nuclear Free World: Germany Blinks, Büchel To Drop 22 (Old) US Nuclear Bombs


Japan has its Three Non-Nuclear Principles. I have always wondered why Germany allows US missiles on its territory. Finally, Germany has moved a step closer to ridding its soil of the last remaining American atomic weapons:

The federal government plans to end the deal by 2013 and perhaps earlier, when it decommissions its ageing Tornado fighter jets, which are equipped to drop the nuclear bombs, the Rheinische Post reported. At present, the Tornado fighters, stationed at the Bundeswehr base at Büchel in the Mosel region, are ready to drop the estimated 22 American-owned nuclear bombs stored on German soil. Those bombs are housed at the the Büchel base, guarded by US soldiers.

But the Tornado jets are due to be decommissioned and the Rheinische Post reported that Germany would not continue the so-called NATO “nuclear sharing” agreement.

While the change is being driven primarily by budget cuts, it also takes Germany a step closer to getting rid of the remaining nuclear weapons on its soil – a fervent goal of Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle’s. But Germany's move is likely to spark a row within NATO, which wants to continue with the policy of nuclear deterrence, the paper reported.

The bombs in Büchel are the last nuclear weapons on German soil, according to the report. While authorities will not confirm their number, it is believed to be 22.

The Tornado squadron was supposed to be replaced by the new Eurofighter. But the new jet would have needed to be redesigned to be capable of carrying the nuclear weapons. Because of the recent tough budget cuts in defence and other areas of government spending, it was decided that the “nuclear sharing” squadron be abandoned altogether.


The Local: Germany to end 'nuclear sharing' with US

Büchel, as important as it may have been, has no English page on Wikipedia. Try the German or French. The Tornadoes have been based there since 1985. The nuclear bombs stored, in case you wondered, are of the 340 kilotons TNT type (some 26 times as powerful as the nuclear bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima in August 1945). German activists are strongly opposed to these American-owned weapons being stored on German soil...

Comments

Pandabonium said…
A nit-picking technical detail: Tornado aircraft were built by BAE in the UK and purchased by Germany - they are not US. It is the nukes they can carry which are US issue.

NATO should have been disbanded when the Soviet Union collapsed. It belongs on the "ash heap of history" as do all nuclear weapons, including those made of so-called depleted uranium.
Martin J Frid said…
Fixed the mistake, thanks for noticing.

There was talk about disbanding NATO around the time when the Warsaw Pact was ended (in 1991 at a meeting in Prague led by Vaclav Havel).

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