As part of its efforts to promote transparency in the disarmament arena, today France opened up airbase 116 at Luxeuil in Haute-Saône. Representatives from some 50 nations and international organizations visited the former nuclear munitions depots at this base as well as the former Lafayette fighter squadron facilities. They were able to note the concrete effects of France’s 2008 decision to scale down its airborne nuclear component by one-third.
Announced by President Hollande at Istres on February 19, this visit is France’s latest effort to serve as an example when it comes to transparency. On this occasion, President Hollande called on all nations with nuclear weapons to make the same effort and expressed his hope that these visits would “inspire other nuclear powers to organize visits that our experts will be able to attend.”
As far back as 2008, France opened its former facilities for the production of fissile material used in nuclear weapons at Pierrelatte and Marcoule to more than 40 representatives of nations belonging to the Conference on Disarmament, and in 2009 to some 20 nongovernmental experts and 20 French and foreign journalists. France was the first nuclear weapons state to take such a measure with respect to transparency.