At mid-2017, Hans M. Kristensen and Robert S. Norris estimate there is nearly 15,000 nuclear weapons in the world. 9,400 of these weapons are in military arsenals. The rest of these, around 5,600 in total, are retired and waiting at dismantle.
In total, 14 countries have nuclear weapons, at 107 sites. By far, the USA and Russia have the biggest global inventory of weapons. Together, the 2 countries have 93% of the worlds nuclear weapons.
The Russians keep their information to themselves, and the European governments say very little about what they know, but the estimate is that Russians store nuclear weapons at 48 locations. In 2010 Russia claimed that, “the total number of nuclear weapons storage facilities has been reduced fourfold” since 1991. That means Russia has gone from 500 to 125 storage sites. With the 2 numbers fresh in memory, we don’t know what they define as a “storage facility”. Some observers counted each bunker surrendered by fence as a storage, even trough there may be multiple fenced bunkers within a larger storage complex. The count 48 represents each storage complex as one side.
The Russian nuclear weapon storages roughly fall into three categories. Operational warheads at Strategic Rocket Force, navy, and air force bases; nonstrategic and reserve or retired warheads at national-level storage sites; and warheads at assembly and disassembly factories.
The United States store weapons at 18 sites, 12 of them in 11 different states, and 6 sites in 5 European countries. The United States is the only country that has nuclear weapons outside their own border. The number of sites has been dramatilly increased after the end of the cold war.
China approximately has 12 sites. Nearly all ofChina’ss 270 nuclear warheads are in the central storage site, known as base 22. Like Russia, china keeps their information to themselves, and surrounding countries say very little about what they know.
Pakistan is rapidly expanding their nuclear arsenal. But the 130-140 warheads are not believed to be fully operational under normal circumstances. There has been no credible information about permanent nuclear storage. Pakistan is increasing the number of both plutonium production and uranium enrichment. If Pakistan keeps increasing the number of nuclear weapons, by 2025, they will be the 5th largest nuclear weapon state. But it is believed, Pakistan will begin to level off their production as the current weapon pogroms finish. Unless India scientifically increase their arsenal.
In India, it has again been hard to dig information up about where the 120-130 warheads are stored. India is thought to keep its nuclear warheads and bombs in central storage units rather than on bases. That means if India suddenly needs to use these, they need to be transported to bases within the country first. But India is the only country that don’t have a no-first-use policy. They say, they might respond with nukes, if a chemical or biological attack happens. They support the idea of no-first-use policy, but says, India should not bind itself to such policy.
Its worth to mention, India and Pakistan fears each other the same way as the United States and North Korea fears each other.
Israel is believed to have 80-85 warheads at 5 locations. But Israel is a wild card due to the opacity of their nuclear weapons program.
North Korea have made 5 nuclear tests. Produced sufficient fissile material to make approximately 20 weapons. But it is uncertain that north Korea has any weapons or where they should be stored. North Korea is believed in the end of 2017 to have enough bomb fuel, (plutonium and uranium) to make 16 to 32 nuclear weapons, but only fissile material enough to 6 or 7 bombs. So, the engineers in North Korea is working hard at making bombs, that need less fissile material to detonate. -and that is completely up to their skill level.
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Hans M. Kirstensen is the director of the Nuclear Information Project. his work focuses on reteaching and writing about the status of nuclear weapons and the politics behind them.
Robert S. Norris is a senior with the Federation of American Scientists. his principal areas of expertise include writing and research on all aspects of the nuclear weapons programs of the United States, the Soviet Union and Russia, the United Kingdom, France, and China, as well as India, Pakistan, and Israel.
this article is based upon their work and research on the area.