From a report by U.S. environmental association Natural Resources Defense Council [1], we had already learned that the United States store 90 nuclear bombs on two Italian bases: 50 in Aviano (Pordenone) and 40 in Ghedi Torre (Brescia). Approximately 400 more bombs are deployed in Germany, United Kingdom, Belgium and the Netherlands. They include all three versions of the tactical B61 bomb with a yield ranging from 45 to 170 kilotons (13 times the power of the Hiroshima bomb).

The bombs are stored in special vaults with starfighters ready for nuclear strike. An example of this are the Italian "Tornado" aircraft fitted with 40 nuclear bombs (located at Ghedi Torre). To this end, as the report further discloses, Italian pilots are trained to operate nuclear bombs at the USAF Capo Frasca (Oristano) and Maniago II (Pordenone) shooting ranges.

With the recent release of the Nuclear Posture Review[2], these facts have been officially confirmed for the first time: "NATO non-nuclear members participate in nuclear planning and possess specially configured aircraft capable of delivering nuclear weapons". Will the Italian Government confirm it as well, thus admitting that it is violating the Non-Proliferation Treaty? Or will it sustain that the Pentagon is lying?


[1] U.S. Nuclear Weapons in Europe. A review of post-Cold War policy, force levels, and war planning, NRDC, 2005. PdF.

[2] Nuclear Posture Review 2010, US Department of Defense, Avril 2010. PdF.