The U.S., Russia, U.K. France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea possess approximately 17,000 nuclear weapons, according to the latest assessment from The Center For Arms Control And Non-Proliferation.
And given that there are several ways nuclear warfare could still happen, it’s good to keep an account of the world’s most devastating weapons. Furthermore, the nuclear arsenals of these countries serve of as powerful deterrents against aggressive military action.
The following graphic illustrates how many estimated nuclear warheads each of these nine nations have in their respective weapons inventories, as well as the first known date of nuclear weapon testing for each country.
Note: Since nuclear weapons programs are shrouded in secrecy, the following totals listed should be considered estimates. And the graphic does not reflect differences in a state’s type of nuclear warheads or the accuracy of its delivery systems.
Here are some key findings from the report and other relevant details:
• Israel has never revealed any details of its nuclear program or even acknowledged that it has a nuclear arsenal. However, U.S. intelligence believes that Israel possesses an estimated stockpile of 80 nuclear warheads. Israel obtained much of its weapons-grade uranium from an American company.
• Iran is widely believed to be running a clandestine research program to build a bomb, led by shadowy military figure Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.
• All five legally recognised nuclear weapon states — China, France, Russia, the UK and the USA — are either deploying new nuclear weapon delivery systems or have announced programs to do so, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
• Even though under the Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (New START), Russia and the United States have reduced their inventories but still account for more than 93% of all operational nuclear warheads.
• It is believed that the U.S. military has retired all remaining W80-0 Tomahawk cruise missiles and their warheads, according to research from the
Federation of American Scientists.
• The United States and Russia still keep many of their weapons on launch-ready alert which means the warheads are capable of being launched within minutes of approval. Reportedly, China and Pakistan store all of their weapons separate from launching vehicles.
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