MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — North Korea is now the ninth country in the world to have nuclear weapons.
Recent reporting suggests they could have anywhere between 10 and 60. But, what about everyone else?
Where are the rest of the world’s nuclear warheads? Good Question.
According to the Federation of American Scientists, there are roughly 15,000 nuclear weapons on the planet today. Of these, approximately 9,500 are in stockpiles and awaiting to be dismantled, 3,900 are deployed and 1,800 are on high alert.
“We’re not talking hours, we’re talking minutes,” says Kingston Reif, director of Disarmament & Threat Reduction Policy at the Arms Control Association.
Russia and the U.S. each have between 4,000 and 4,500 nuclear weapons in their stockpiles. They are followed by France (300), China (270), UK (215), Pakistan (140), India (130), Israel (80) and North Korea, according to the Federation of American Scientists.
In the U.S., the warheads are on submarines, missiles, in silos and at military bases in Europe. Only the U.S. President has the sole authority to order the use of nuclear weapons.
The height of nuclear weapons in the world – both stockpiled and retired – was in 1986 when there were 70,000. That number has come down dramatically since then through several treaties.
“The reasons we have come down significant from the heyday of the Cold War is that the U.S. relationship with the Soviet Union, now Russia, is dramatically different,” says Reif. “The two sides negotiated a number of nuclear reduction agreements in the late 1980s and early 1990s that allowed significant reduction in the overall size of nuclear stockpiles.”
Studies have examined the devastating effects of a potential nuclear war.
They found 100 nuclear warheads set off in urban areas in Pakistan and India could kill up to 20 million people immediately. That would cause severe climate change, which would affect up to two billion more people through famine.
According to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, the United States expects to spend $350 billion to modernize its nuclear arsenal between 2014 and 2023. Among those changes will be new submarines, a long-range bomber, a next-generation intercontinental ballistic missile, a new warhead and updated command and control facilities.
Have a Good Question? Click here to submit yours.