During the early days of nuclear technology, the United States desired a monopoly on its new weapon. However, the secrets and the technical know-how to produce the atomic weapon swiftly diffused to many countries.
The United States conducted the first nuclear test in July 1945, and in August 1945, it detonated two atomic bombs on Japanese cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Soviet Union conducted its second nuclear test in 1949.
Over the next two decades, the United Kingdom, France, and China joined the ranks of nuclear-weapons states.
Check out the list of countries that have nuclear weapons.
To prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons, the United States and its allies negotiated the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1968 and the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) in 1996.
List of Nuclear-Weapon States:
The nuclear-weapon states (NWS) that are officially recognized as possessing nuclear weapons by the NPT are China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
The United States:
The United States now has 1,389 strategic nuclear weapons aboard 665 intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and strategic bombers as of 2021.
The US has 100 B-61 nuclear gravity bombs in six NATO locations in five European countries, out of a total estimated stockpile of 230 B-61 nuclear gravity bombs.
- Aviano and Ghedi in Italy
- Büchel in Germany
- Incirlik in Turkey
- Kleine Brogel in Belgium and
- Volkel in the Netherlands
Last October, the US State Department estimated that the total number of “active” and “inactive” US warheads would be 3,750 by September 2020.
China has around 350 total warheads.
Around 290 warheads are deployed in France.
Russian strategic warheads are deployed aboard 527 intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and strategic bombers as of 2021.
According to the Federation of American Scientists, Russia’s military stockpile consists of roughly 4,497 nuclear warheads as of January 2021. (FAS).
Around 225 strategic warheads are held by the United Kingdom.
Non-NPT Nuclear Weapons Possessors:
Despite the fact that India, Israel, and Pakistan have never signed the NPT, they all have nuclear weapons.
Take a look at the estimations for the arsenal:
India has approximately 156 nuclear weapons.
Israel possesses an estimated 90 nuclear weapons.
Pakistan has about 165 nuclear weapons.
North Korea (North Korea):
North Korea was a signatory to the NPT as a non-nuclear-weapons state until 2003, when it withdrew. North Korea possesses approximately 40-50 nuclear weapons.
Please note that all of the above data are from the Arms Control Association.
The following are the countries that had nuclear weapons or nuclear weapons programs at one time or another:
After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, three former Soviet Union countries—Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine—inherited nuclear weapons, but they returned them to Russia and joined the NPT as non-nuclear-weapon states.
South Africa built nuclear weapons secretly but eventually opted to remove them and later joined the NPT in 1991.
Iraq had an active nuclear weapons program before to the 1991 Gulf War, but it was forced to dismantle it under the supervision of UN inspectors. The U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 has curtailed Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.
In December 2003, Libya voluntarily abandoned its quest to secure nuclear weapons.
Argentina, Brazil, South Korea, and Taiwan likewise terminated their nuclear weapons projects.
Keep an eye on this site for more fascinating articles like this one!