April 01, 2016

Who Has Nuclear Weapons, And How Many Do They Have?

The Ploughshares Fund, a global security foundation, estimates there are more than 15,000 nuclear weapons around the world; the U.S. and Russia possess 93 percent of them.

The exact number of nuclear weapons in each country's arsenal is often a closely guarded secret

Israel about 80 but capable of promptly making 100-200 more

Although the Israeli government neither confirms nor denies that it possesses nuclear weapons, it is generally accepted by friend and foe alike that Israel is a nuclear-armed stateÑand has been so for nearly half a century. The basis for this conclusion has been strengthened significantly since our previous estimate in 2002, particularly thanks to new documents obtained by scholars under the US Freedom of Information Act and other openly available sources. Bulletin of the American Scientist's conclude that many of the public claims about the size of the Israeli nuclear arsenal are exaggerated. We estimate that Israel has a stockpile of approximately 80 nuclear warheads for delivery by two dozen missiles, a couple of squadrons of aircraft, and perhaps a small number of sea-launched cruise missiles.

Although Israel has produced enough plutonium for 100-200 warheads, the number of delivery platforms and estimates made by the U.S. intelligence community suggest that the stockpile might include approximately 80 warheads.

Lower estimate of 120 operational nukes for China

China's nuclear weapons total: 260

The number of warheads on each submarine has been lowered from 48 to 40. This has lowered the number of “operationally available” warheads from 160 to 120. By the mid-2020s, the stockpile will be reduced to “not more than 180.”

US has 4717 warheads, 2500 retired warheads and 20,000 nuclear cores and 5000 assemblies

The U.S. government declared in April 2015 that its stockpile included 4,717 warheads as of September 2014. Since then, a small number of warheads are thought to have been retired. In addition to the roughly 4,670 warheads in the military stockpile, the U.S. government in April 2015 announced that approximately 2,500 retired warheads at that time were awaiting dismantlement. In addition, close to 20,000 plutonium cores (pits) and some 5,000 Canned Assemblies (secondaries) from dismantled warheads are in storage at the Pantex Plant in Texas and Y-12 plant in Tennessee


Russia has 4,490 nukes in their military stockpile, an estimated 2,800 retired warheads are estimated to be awaiting dismantlement. Details are scarce, but we estimate that Russia is dismantling approximately 500 retired warheads per year.

Total nuclear weapons: 7,300, according to the Federation of American Scientists.
Number that are operational: 1,790
Number retired/awaiting dismantlement: 4,490
Total nuclear tests, approximately: 715, according to the Arms Control Association.

North Korea

Total nuclear weapons: Unknown. The U.S. said in February it had intelligence indicating the secretive nation could soon have enough plutonium for nuclear weapons and was taking steps toward a long-range missile system, but experts do not believe North Korea currently has the technology to deliver weapons.
Total nuclear tests, approximately: 4


Total nuclear weapons: 110 to 120
Number that are operational: 0, according to the Federation of American Scientists. All are in stockpile.
Number retired/awaiting dismantlement: 110 to 120


Total nuclear weapons: About 300
Number that are operational: 280
Number retired/awaiting dismantlement: 10


Total nuclear weapons: 110 to 130
Number that are operational: 0
Number retired/awaiting dismantlement: all 110 to 130

United Kingdom

Total nuclear weapons: 215
Number that are operational: 120
Number retired/awaiting dismantlement: 95

Sources: Nuclear Threat Initiative; Federation of American Scientists; Arms Control Association, Ploughshare

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