Which Countries Have Nuclear Weapons and How Many?


Human Wrongs Watch

By ICAN* – Nine countries together possess more than 19,000 nuclear weapons. The United States and Russia maintain roughly 2,000 of their nuclear weapons on high-alert status – ready to be launched within minutes of a warning.

Source: ICAN

Source: ICAN

Most are many times more powerful than the atomic bombs dropped on Japan in 1945.

A single nuclear warhead, if detonated on a large city, could kill millions of people, with the effects persisting for decades.

The failure of the nuclear powers to disarm has heightened the risk that other countries will acquire nuclear weapons.

The only guarantee against the spread and use of nuclear weapons is to eliminate them without delay.

Although the leaders of some nuclear-armed nations have expressed their vision for a nuclear-weapon-free world, they have failed to develop any detailed plans to eliminate their arsenals and are modernizing them.

COUNTRY NUCLEAR PROGRAMME SIZE OF ARSENAL
United States The first country to develop nuclear weapons and the only country to have used them in war. It spends more on its nuclear arsenal than all other countries combined.  8,000 warheads
Russia The second country to develop nuclear weapons. It has the largest arsenal of any country and is investing heavily in the modernization of its warheads and delivery systems.  10,000 warheads
United Kingdom It maintains a fleet of four nuclear-armed submarines in Scotland, each carrying 16 Trident missiles. It is considering whether to overhaul its nuclear forces or disarm.  225 warheads
France Most of its nuclear warheads are deployed on submarines equipped with M45 and M51 missiles. One boat is on patrol at all times. Some warheads are also deliverable by aircraft.  300 warheads
China It has a much smaller arsenal than the US and Russia. Its warheads are deliverable by air, land and sea. It does not appear to be increasing the size of its arsenal.  240 warheads
India It developed nuclear weapons in breach of non-proliferation commitments. It is steadily increasing the size of its nuclear arsenal and enhancing its delivery capabilities.  80–100 warheads
Pakistan It is making substantial improvements to its nuclear arsenal and associated infrastructure. It has increased the size of its nuclear arsenal considerably in recent years.  90–110 warheads
Israel It has a policy of ambiguity in relation to its nuclear arsenal, neither confirming nor denying its existence. As a result, there is little public information or debate about it.  80 nuclear weapons
North Korea It has a fledgling nuclear weapons programme. Its arsenal probably comprises fewer than 10 warheads. It is not clear whether it has the capability to deliver them. <10 warheads
Total 19,000 warheads
Source: Federation of American Scientists

The Wider Problem

Five European nations host US nuclear weapons on their soil as part of a NATO nuclear-sharing arrangement, and roughly two dozen other nations claim to rely on US nuclear weapons for their security.

Furthermore, there are now some 40 nations with nuclear power or research reactors capable of being diverted for weapons production. The spread of nuclear know-how has increased the risk that more nations will develop the bomb.

Nations with nuclear weapons United States, Russia, Britain, France, China, Israel, India, Pakistan, North Korea
Nations hosting nuclear weapons Belgium, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Turkey
Nations in nuclear alliances Albania, Australia, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech, Denmark, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain

*Source: International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). Go to OriginalRelated websites: People’s Decade for Nuclear AbolitionNuclear Abolition News and Analysis

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2013 Human Wrongs Watch

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