Historical nuclear weapons stockpiles and nuclear tests by country

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This article shows various estimates of the nuclear weapons stockpiles of various countries at various points in time. This article also shows the number of nuclear weapons tests conducted by each country at various points in time.

Nuclear weapons stockpiles[edit]

Graph of nuclear testing

The United States nuclear stockpile increased almost exponentially between 1945 and 1965, but then began declining after peaking in 1966.[1] In 2012, the United States had several times fewer nuclear weapons than it had in 1966.[2] The Soviet Union joined the nuclear club in 1949 and had its nuclear stockpile increase very rapidly until 1986, when it peaked under Mikhail Gorbachev.[1] After the decrease of Cold War tensions and eventually the end of the Cold War, the Soviet and Russian nuclear stockpile decreased by over 80% between 1986 and 2012.[2] The U.S. and Russian nuclear weapons stockpiles are projected to continue decreasing over the next decade.[3] The United Kingdom joined the nuclear club in 1952 while France joined it in 1960. The British and French nuclear stockpiles peaked at about 500 nuclear weapons in 1981 and 1992, respectively.[1]

U.S. and USSR/Russian nuclear weapons stockpiles/inventories, 1945–2006. The failing Soviet economy and the dissolution of the country between 1989-91 which marks the end of the Cold War and with it the relaxation of the arms race, brought about a large decrease in both nations stockpiles. The effects of the Megatons to Megawatts can also be seen in the mid 1990s, continuing Russia's reducing trend. A similar chart focusing solely on quantity of warheads in the multi-megaton range is also available.[4] Moreover total deployed US & "Russian" strategic weapons increased steadily from the 1980s until the Cold War ended.[5]

China joined the nuclear club in 1964 while its nuclear stockpile increased until the early 1980s, when it stabilized.[1] India joined the nuclear club in 1974, while Pakistan joined the nuclear club in the 1980s.[1][6] Both India and Pakistan currently have around one hundred nuclear weapons.[2] Pakistan's nuclear stockpile has been increasing at a very fast rate, and it is speculated that Pakistan might have more nuclear weapons than the United Kingdom within a decade.[7] South Africa successfully built six nuclear weapons in the 1980s, but dismantled all of them by the end of the 1990s after the end of apartheid.[8] North Korea joined the nuclear club in 2006 or before.[9][1] Without negotiations and "other proper measures", North Korea could increase its current nuclear weapons stockpile by several times by 2016.[10] A United States Defense Intelligence Agency report from 1999 projected that both Iran and Iraq will join the nuclear club and have 10-20 nuclear weapons in 2020.[11] However, it is worth pointing out that this report was written before the overthrow of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and before info indicating that Iraq already gave up its nuclear weapons program by 1999 was released.[11]

Over 2,000 nuclear explosions have been conducted, in over a dozen different sites around the world. Red Russia/Soviet Union, blue France, light blue United States, violet Britain, black Israel, orange China, yellow India, brown Pakistan, green North Korea and light green (territories exposed to nuclear bombs)
Global Nuclear Weapons Stockpiles (1945-2025)[1]
Country 1945 1950 1955 1960 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2013[2] Future projections
United States United States of America 2 299 2,422 18,638 31,139 26,008 27,519 24,104 23,368 21,392 10,904 10,577 8,360 7,700 3,620 (for 2022)[3]
Russia Russia/The Soviet Union 0 5 200 1,605 6,129 11,643 19,055 30,062 39,197 37,000 27,000 21,500 17,000 8,500 3,350 (for 2022)[3]
United Kingdom United Kingdom 0 0 14 42 436 394 492 492 422 422 422 281 281 225 180 (for around 2025)[12]
France France 0 0 0 0 32 36 188 250 360 505 500 470 350 300
China China 0 0 0 0 5 75 180 205 243 232 234 232 235 250 150-220 (for 2020)[11]
Israel Israel 0 0 0 0 0 8 20 31 42 53 63 72 80 80 65-85 (for 2020)[11]
India India 0 0 0 0 0 0 0[9] 1[9] 3[9] 7[9] 14[9] 28[9] 44 90-110 50-70 (for 2020)[11]
South Africa South Africa 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0[9] 3[9] 6[9] 0[9] 0 0 0 0[11]
Pakistan Pakistan 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0[9] 4[9] 13[9] 28[9] 38 100-120 150-200 (for 2021)[13]
North Korea North Korea 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0[9] 0[14]-1[9] 0[14]-2[9] 0[14]-2[9] 8[9] 6-8 28-48 (for 2016)[10]
Iran Iran 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 10-20 (for 2020)[11]

Even before the United States of America started the nuclear club in 1945, some countries (most notably Nazi Germany) unsuccessfully attempted to build nuclear weapons.[15]

Nuclear weapon tests[edit]

Number of Nuclear Weapons Tests by Country (1945-2013)[16]
Country 1945-49 1950-54 1955-59 1960-64 1965-69 1970-74 1975-79 1980-84 1985-89 1990-94 1995-99 2000-04 2005-09 2010-14 Cumulative total
All countries 9 63 228 362 344 277 273 265 174 43 14 0 2 1 2,055
United States United States of America 8 43 145 198 230 136 96 84 71 21 0 0 0 0 1,032
Russia Russia/The Soviet Union 1 17 65 147 85 101 126 116 56 1 0 0 0 0 715
United Kingdom United Kingdom 0 3 18 4 1 1 4 8 4 2 0 0 0 0 45
France France 0 0 0 12 19 32 37 51 41 12 6 0 0 0 210
China China 0 0 0 1 9 6 10 6 2 7 4 0 0 0 45
Israel Israel 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
India India 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 5 0 0 0 6
South Africa South Africa 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Pakistan Pakistan 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 6 0 0 0 6
North Korea North Korea 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 1[17] 3

From the first nuclear test in 1945, worldwide nuclear testing increased rapidly until the 1970s, when it peaked.[16] However, there was still a large amount of worldwide nuclear testing until the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s.[16] Afterwards, the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty was signed and ratified by the major nuclear weapons powers, and the number of worldwide nuclear tests decreased rapidly.[16] India and Pakistan conducted nuclear tests in 1998, but afterwards only North Korea conducted nuclear tests—in 2006, 2009, and 2013.[18][16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Norris, Robert; Hans M. Kristensen (July 1, 2010). "Global nuclear weapons inventories, 1945−2010". Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. doi:10.2968/066004008. Retrieved February 7, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d "6. World nuclear forces — www.sipri.org". Sipri.org. Retrieved 2013-06-03. 
  3. ^ a b c Kristensen, Hans (December 2012). "Trimming Nuclear Excess". Federation of American Scientists. Retrieved January 7, 2013. 
  4. ^ MULTIMEGATON WEAPONS The Largest Nuclear Weapons by Wm. Robert Johnston
  5. ^ Hans M. Kristensen 2012, "Estimated US-Russian Nuclear Warhead Inventories 1977-2018."
  6. ^ Kerr, Paul; Mary Beth Nikitin (June 26, 2012). "Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapons: Proliferation and Security Issues". Congressional Research Service. Retrieved February 7, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Mitt Romney says Pakistan is on a path to overtake the U.K. in nuclear weapons". PolitiFact.com. Tampa Bay Times. October 22, 2012. Archived from the original on 2012-11-15. Retrieved February 8, 2013. 
  8. ^ "South Africa". Nuclear Threat Initiative. November 2011. Retrieved February 8, 2013. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t Johnston, Wm. Robert (August 23, 2008). "Nuclear Stockpiles: South Africa, India, Pakistan, and North Korea, warheads and megatonnage, various estimates". Retrieved January 7, 2013. 
  10. ^ a b "N. Korea may own 48 nuclear weapons by 2015: report", The Korea Times, August 17, 2012, retrieved February 8, 2013 
  11. ^ a b c d e f g Aftergood, Steven; Hans M. Kristensen (January 8, 2007). "Nuclear Weapons - Israel". Federation of American Scientists. Retrieved January 7, 2013. 
  12. ^ Hammond, Philip (December 12, 2012). "Working towards nuclear disarmament". The U.K. Government. Retrieved January 7, 2013. 
  13. ^ Norris, Robert; Hans M. Kristensen (July 1, 2011). "Pakistan's nuclear forces, 2011". Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. doi:10.1177/0096340211413360. Retrieved February 7, 2013. 
  14. ^ a b c Gordon, Michael (March 9, 2002), "U.S. Nuclear Plan Sees New Weapons and New Targets", The New York Times, retrieved February 8, 2013 
  15. ^ Hall, Allan (July 13, 2011), "Nazi nuclear waste from Hitler's secret A-bomb programme found in mine", The Daily Mail, retrieved February 8, 2013 
  16. ^ a b c d e Fedchenko, Vitaly (December 2009). "NORTH KOREA'S NUCLEAR TEST EXPLOSION, 2009". Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. Retrieved February 8, 2013. 
  17. ^ Chance, David. "North Korea conducts third nuclear test, sparks condemnation". Reuters. Retrieved 2013-06-03. 
  18. ^ Chance, David (2012-10-24). "Nuclear test protects country from 'hostile' US, North Korea says - World News". Worldnews.nbcnews.com. Retrieved 2013-06-03.