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]

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.[1] Moreover, total deployed US & "Russian" strategic weapons increased steadily from the 1980s until the Cold War ended.[2]
Graph of nuclear testing by year and country.
Global Nuclear Weapons Stockpiles (1945-2025)[3]
Country 1945 1950 1955 1960 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2014 Projections[4]
 United States 2 299 2,422 18,638 31,139 26,008 27,519 23,368 21,392 10,904 10,577 8,360 7,700 7,260 3,620 (for 2022)[5]
 Russia/ 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 7,500 3,350 (for 2022)[4]
 United Kingdom 0 0 14 42 436 394 492 492 422 422 422 281 281 215 180 (for around 2025)[6]
 France 0 0 0 0 32 36 188 250 360 505 500 470 350 300
 China 0 0 0 0 5 75 180 205 243 232 234 232 235 260 150-220 (for 2020)[7]
 Israel 0 0 0 0 0 8 20 31 42 53 63 72 80 80 65-85 (for 2020)[7]
 India 0 0 0 0 0 0 0[8] 1[8] 3[8] 7[8] 14[8] 28[8] 44 90-110 50-70 (for 2020)[7]
 South Africa 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0[8] 3[8] 6[8] 0[8] 0 0 0 0[7]
 Pakistan 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0[8] 4[8] 13[8] 28[8] 38 100-120 150-200 (for 2021)[9]
 North Korea 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0[8] 0[10]-1[8] 0[10]-2[8] 0[10]-2[8] 8[8] 6-8
 Kazakhstan 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1,410 (1991)[11] 0 0 0 0 0
 Ukraine 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1,240 (1991)[12] 0 0 0 0 0
 Belarus 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 At least 81 (1991)[13] 0 0 0 0 0

The United States nuclear stockpile increased rapidly from 1945, peaked in 1966, and declined after that.[3] By 2012, the United States had several times fewer nuclear weapons than it had in 1966.[14]

The Soviet Union developed its first nuclear weapon in 1949 and increased its nuclear stockpile rapidly until it peaked in 1986 under Mikhail Gorbachev.[3] As Cold War tensions decreased, and after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Soviet and Russian nuclear stockpile decreased by over 80% between 1986 and 2012.[14]

The U.S. and Russian nuclear weapons stockpiles are projected to continue decreasing over the next decade.[5]

The United Kingdom became a nuclear power in 1952, and their nuclear arsenal peaked at just under 500 nuclear weapons in 1981. France became a nuclear power in 1960, and French nuclear stockpiles peaked at just over 500 nuclear weapons in 1992. [3] China developed its first nuclear weapon in 1964; its nuclear stockpile increased until the early 1980s, when it stabilized at between 200 and 260.[3] India became a nuclear power in 1974, while Pakistan developed its first nuclear weapon in the 1980s.[3][15] India and Pakistan currently have around one hundred nuclear weapons each.[14] Pakistan's nuclear stockpile has increased rapidly, and it is speculated that Pakistan might have more nuclear weapons than the United Kingdom within a decade.[16]

South Africa successfully built six nuclear weapons in the 1980s, but dismantled all of them in the early 1990s, shortly before the fall of the apartheid system.[17] So far it is the only nuclear-capable country to give up nuclear weapons, although several members of the U.S.S.R. did so during the collapse of the Soviet Union.

North Korea joined the nuclear club in 2006 or before.[3][8] A United States Defense Intelligence Agency report from 1999 projected that both Iran and Iraq would join the nuclear club and have 10-20 nuclear weapons in 2020.[7] However, it is worth pointing out that this report was written before the overthrow of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein and before information was released indicating that Iraq had already given up its nuclear weapons program.[7] 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.[18]

Nuclear weapon tests[edit]

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).
Number of Nuclear Weapons Tests by Country (1945-2017)[19]
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 2015-17 Cumulative total
All countries 9 63 228 362 344 277 273 265 174 43 21 0 2 1 3 2,065
United States United States of America 8 43 145 198 230 136 96 84 71 21 0 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 0 715
United Kingdom United Kingdom 0 3 18 4 1 1 4 8 4 2 0 0 0 0 0 45
France France 0 0 0 12 19 32 37 51 41 12 6 0 0 0 0 210
China China 0 0 0 1 9 6 10 6 2 7 4 0 0 0 0 45
Israel Israel 0 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 0 6
South Africa South Africa 0 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 0 6
North Korea North Korea 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 1 3 6

From the first nuclear test in 1945, worldwide nuclear testing increased rapidly until the 1970s, when it peaked.[19] However, there was still a large amount of worldwide nuclear testing until the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s.[19] 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.[19] India and Pakistan conducted nuclear tests in 1998, but afterwards only North Korea conducted nuclear tests--in 2006, 2009, 2013, twice in 2016, and in 2017.[19][20]

References[edit]

  1. ^ MULTIMEGATON WEAPONS The Largest Nuclear Weapons by Wm. Robert Johnston
  2. ^ Hans M. Kristensen 2012, "Estimated US-Russian Nuclear Warhead Inventories 1977-2018."
  3. ^ 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. 
  4. ^ a b "11. World nuclear forces — www.sipri.org". Sipri.org. Retrieved 2016-05-21. 
  5. ^ a b Kristensen, Hans (December 2012). "Trimming Nuclear Excess" (PDF). Federation of American Scientists. Retrieved January 7, 2013. 
  6. ^ Hammond, Philip (December 12, 2012). "Working towards nuclear disarmament". The U.K. Government. Retrieved January 7, 2013. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f Aftergood, Steven; Hans M. Kristensen (January 8, 2007). "Nuclear Weapons - Israel". Federation of American Scientists. Retrieved January 7, 2013. 
  8. ^ 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. 
  9. ^ 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. 
  10. ^ 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 
  11. ^ http://www.nti.org/learn/countries/kazakhstan/nuclear/
  12. ^ http://www.nti.org/learn/countries/ukraine/
  13. ^ http://www.nti.org/analysis/articles/belarus-nuclear-disarmament/
  14. ^ a b c "6. World nuclear forces — www.sipri.org". Sipri.org. Retrieved 2013-06-03. 
  15. ^ Kerr, Paul; Mary Beth Nikitin (June 26, 2012). "Pakistan's Nuclear Weapons: Proliferation and Security Issues" (PDF). Congressional Research Service. Retrieved February 7, 2013. 
  16. ^ "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. 
  17. ^ "South Africa". Nuclear Threat Initiative. November 2011. Retrieved February 8, 2013. 
  18. ^ 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 
  19. ^ 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. 
  20. ^ Chance, David (2012-10-24). "Nuclear test protects country from 'hostile' US, North Korea says - World News". Worldnews.nbcnews.com. Retrieved 2013-06-03.