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Nuclear weapons: how many are there in 2009 and who has them?

Discussion in 'Military Forum' started by foxhound, Dec 29, 2010.

  1. foxhound

    foxhound FULL MEMBER

    Apr 1, 2007
    +0 / 241 / -0

    Nuclear weapons: how many are there in 2009 and who has them?Latest data on how many nuclear weapons there are in the world shows that - even with some being dismantled - there are still 23,574. Find out who has what
    • Get the data
    ref:Nuclear weapons: how many are there in 2009 and who has them? | World news | guardian.co.uk
    Nuclear weapons: Explosion over Bikini Atoll Photograph: U.S. Department of Energy-Nevada/Corbis

    Are we headed for a nuclear-free world?
    News that the US is abandoning the missile defense system has brought renewed attention to the issue of nuclear proliferation.

    The thing is, counting nuclear weapons is a bit like counting votes – a lot depends on who is doing the counting, and how.
    The disarmament treaty currently being negotiated between the US and Russia applies to deployed strategic warheads, along with their delivery systems, but that leaves out most of the weapons both countries are sitting on.
    Roll over the line to get the figures

    It does not apply to short-range, tactical weapons like nuclear artillery shells, depth charges and anti-ballistic missiles, of which the US has an estimated 500 and Russia has about 2,000. They do not represent an immediate threat to either of the nuclear superpowers, so they have been left to one side, although they represent a significant proliferation risk.
    Such warheads, being smaller, are arguably easier to steal.

    Then there is the distinction between deployed, reserve and retired warheads. The new deal, like the 2002 Moscow Treaty, deals with deployed warheads, that are installed atop missiles ready to fire, or in the form of bombs ready to load on to planes.
    But there is a lot more destructive force sitting in the American and Russian warehouses in the form of reserve arsenals. Much of the disarmament of recent years has involved warheads being removed from missiles and stored in bunkers, under constant maintenance.

    They can be reunited with their missiles in a matter of days or weeks. In the case of gravity bombs, the distinction between deployed and reserve stockpiles is even more blurred. In the American case, for example, it depends on whether they are stored on 'forward' air bases in Europe, or back in the US.

    The third category is 'retired for dismantlement'. The warheads are separated from their delivery systems and warehoused without maintenance.

    In some cases, trigger mechanisms are removed to prevent them blowing up unexpectedly. They are supposed to be taken apart, but in reality the wait can last years. The US has 4,200 such warheads and is only dismantling them at the rate of 270 a year. Russia is thought to have about 8,000 non-deployed warheads, but it is unclear how many are in reserve and how many retired. The best guess by independent nuclear experts is that the overwhelming majority of that number is retired awaiting dismantlement.

    Despite the fact the retired stockpiles represent the biggest category of nuclear weapons out there they are not normally counted as part of each country's arsenal for the purposes of treaties, even though no technical reason they could not be put back into service relatively fast if international tensions took a sudden turn for the worse.
    The data here – updated with the latest figures on the US and Russia - is from the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists – the world's best source of nuclear information. See what you can do with it – and let us know.

    DATA: the world in nuclear weaponsGRAPHIC: how we visualised this data (PDF)
    Introducing the nuke-o-meter

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    Nuclear warheads
    Click headings to sort
    No. of war heads, 2009 Inter- conti- nental missiles Short-range missiles Bombs Sub- marines / non- strategic In reserve/ await- ing disman tlement TOTAL NOW TOTAL IN 2000
    Russia 1355 576 856 2050 8150 12987 21000
    US 550 1152 500 500 6700 9552 10577
    France - - 60 240 - 300 350
    Israel - - - - - 200 0
    UK - - - 192 - 192 185
    China 121 - 55 - - 176 400
    Pakistan - - - - - 90 0
    India - - - - - 75 0
    North Korea - - - - - 2 0
  2. DesiGuy


    Jul 27, 2009
    +1 / 2,329 / -4
    United States
    United States
    Are we headed for a nuclear-free world?

  3. black_magic pk

    black_magic pk BANNED

    Jul 3, 2010
    +0 / 135 / -0
    as long as you and me get angry