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France

Introduction:France is one of two Nuclear Weapon States in the European Union, along with the United Kingdom. France initiated its nuclear program in 1954 with the desire to develop an independent strike force. France’s first nuclear test explosion occurred in February 1960 in the Sahara Desert. In 1964, the French nuclear force became operational.


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In 1992, France stopped producing plutonium for use in nuclear weapons. In 1996, under pressure from activists around the world, France decided to end its nuclear testing regime, and in the same year ceased production of highly enriched uranium.

In 2008, French President Nicolas Sarkozy announced the dismantlement of one third of the country’s nuclear weapons and missiles, reducing its arsenal to less than 300 warheads. However, despite these measures, France still considers its nuclear arsenal as a vital element of its national security and independence. To this end, France has modernized several components of its nuclear weapons system, including launching a new strategic nuclear submarine, Le Terrible, in March 2008.

France has been a State party to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty since 1992 as a Nuclear Weapon State. The French government claims that it is the only Nuclear Weapon State that has dismantled all of its fissile material production sites. However, the country has never pronounced itself in favor of the complete abolition of nuclear weapons. The French White Paper of 2008 on Defense and National Security expresses that nuclear deterrence remains vital for France’s national security.

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