Global nuclear weapons inventories, 1945-2013

By Hans M. Kristensen, Robert S. Norris | October 16, 2013

"world map 3D" by kcp4911 is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Nuclear Notebook: How many nuclear weapons exist on earth?

The authors calculate that some 125,000 nuclear warheads have been built since 1945, about 97 percent of them by the United States and the Soviet Union and Russia. The nine nations with nuclear weapons now possess more than 10,000 nuclear warheads in their military stockpiles, the authors estimate, with several thousand additional US and Russian retired warheads in storage, awaiting dismantlement. The nuclear stockpiles of China, as well as Pakistan, India, Israel, and North Korea, are minuscule in comparison with the US and Russian arsenals, but more difficult to estimate. Still, the authors believe that China’s nuclear weapons stockpile has surpassed Great Britain’s. Although the total number of nuclear warheads in the world is decreasing because of US and Russian reductions, all the nations with nuclear weapons continue to modernize or upgrade their nuclear arsenals…

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The Nuclear Notebook is researched and written by Hans M. Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project with the Federation of American Scientists and Robert S. Norris, a senior fellow with the FAS. The Nuclear Notebook column has been published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists since 1987. The Nuclear Notebook column has been published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists since 1987.


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