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"The billions of dollars we are lavishing on the B61 is criminal...It's clearly aimed at buying senators' votes."

Plan to spend $10bn on updating nuclear bombs goes against 2010 pledge not to deploy new weapons, say critics.

Under the plan, nearly 200 B61 gravity bombs stockpiled in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy and Turkey would be given new tail fins that would turn them into guided weapons that could be delivered by stealth F35 fighter-bombers.

"This will be a significant upgrade of the US nuclear capability in Europe," said Hans Kristensen, a nuclear weapons expert at the Federation of Nuclear Scientists. "It flies directly in the face of the pledges Obama made in 2010 that he would not deploy new weapons."

Joseph Cirincione, President of the Ploughshares Fund, an arms control pressure group: "I'm convinced the president wants to the continue his efforts to reform US nuclear policy," Cirincione said. "But the administration had a schizoid approach on this issue. They believe they have to buy off legislators with billions of dollars in expenditure in their states in order to get votes for arms control measures later.

"The billions of dollars we are lavishing on the B61 is criminal. This is billions of dollars spent on a weapon whose mission evaporated at the end of the cold war. It's clearly aimed at buying senators' votes."


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