Status of world nuclear weapons in 2021

Although the world’s nuclear stockpile is likely to continue to decrease due to the exclusion of the US and Russia, the reality of 2021 in countries with nuclear weapons shows that the trend of increasing nuclear weapons is still on the rise.

Possession of nuclear weapons

Based on data from the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), as of August 2021, there are only 9 countries in the world that possess nuclear weapons. Five of these countries are states that reserve the right to have nuclear weapons as provided for in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Accordingly, the US, Russia, China, France and the UK are allowed to possess nuclear weapons, regardless of the reason.

The US has always tried to maintain a monopoly on nuclear weapons, but more and more countries are trying to circumvent the treaties. India, Pakistan and North Korea all possess nuclear weapons. The Middle Eastern nation of Israel, a religiously affiliated nation known to many Christians, Muslims and Jews as the Holy Land, is also believed to possess nuclear weapons. This may come as a shock to some, mainly because religion values ​​peace. The country’s government officials have not responded to the rumours or acknowledged the fact that they have nuclear weapons on Israeli soil.
However, it has since been determined that Israel has about 90 nuclear weapons within its borders. Many other countries once possessed nuclear weapons but no longer do, for a variety of reasons. Countries that once had nuclear weapons but no longer have nuclear weapons include South Africa, Belarus, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. Israel is currently trying to prevent hostile nations from Iran obtain weapons nuclear.

According to, the relevant move is that according to a newly released report, Iran’s nuclear achievement is irreversible and has reached a stage where Iran only needs a month to produce enough weapons-grade uranium. gas to make the first bomb. The report has sparked a political debate in Israel over whether the Jewish state, long seen as a nuclear power, but always refusing to confirm or deny this fact, should ultimately be public. declare to the world whether they possess atomic weapons or not.

Such a move could set a defining standard for Iran. Israel’s recognition of its nuclear potential would likely force it to join as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. It also means a tectonic shift in the geopolitical environment that affects the entire security architecture in the Middle East.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett believes Iran is indeed very close to creating a bomb. However, Tel Aviv’s hasty actions can only harm the international situation. A similar view is shared by former Israeli leader Ehud Olmert, who claimed that Israel’s recognition of its nuclear potential would allow Iran to justify developing its nuclear weapons.

At the same time, according to some Israeli politicians, especially former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, the possibility of Israel recognizing the status of a nuclear power in the context of Iran moving towards successfully building the first nuclear bomb will will not only contribute to averting the risk of a new war in the Middle East, but will also help reflect possible efforts by Saudi Arabia and Turkey to expand the nuclear club in the region.

Number of nuclear weapons

In theory, nuclear weapons are a state secret, so the information is always kept private. Leading nations have infrequently updated calculations, new nuclear states keep information about their potential ambiguous and unclear; Israel has never officially confirmed that it has a nuclear weapons program. But thanks to limited disclosures, records and leaks, one can imagine the size of the world’s nuclear arsenal.

After the end of World War II and after the Cold War, the two world superpowers, the US and Russia, raced to build more nuclear weapons (and more modern nuclear weapons) than the other. The world’s stockpile of nuclear weapons grew to a peak of 70,300 warheads total in 1986. As arms agreements and the NPT began to gain greater momentum, the United States and Russia reduced stockpiles. reserves while new nuclear-weapon states began to emerge.

The FAS estimate is the latest, most used and most reliable international estimate. Accordingly, Russia has 6,257 warheads (47.7%), the US – 5,550 (42.3%), China – 350 (2.67%), France – 290 (2.21%), Britain – 225 (1.71%), Pakistan – 165 (1.26%), India – 160 (1.22%), Israel – 90 (0.69%), North Korea – 45 (0.34%). For the US, that’s a fraction of what it was at its peak when the US had 31,225 nuclear weapons units in 1967 and 22,217 in 1989.

Despite the significant reduction in stockpiles since the end of the Cold War, Russia and the United States still possess about 90% of the world’s total nuclear warheads. Behind them are China and France, which began testing nuclear weapons in 1964 and 1960 respectively. The UK has the fifth largest number of nuclear weapons today, although it is the third. in the world that developed them, after the US and Russia, in 1952.

Countries with fewer than 200 nuclear weapons are regional rivals such as India and Pakistan, which first tested nuclear weapons in the 1970s, and North Korea, which began operating nuclear weapons. uranium plants and conducted explosive tests in the 1980s. Israel is also estimated to have fewer than 200 nuclear weapons, and reports indicate its weapons program dates back to the 1960s.

State of nuclear warhead
Even though the world has 13,132 nuclear weapons, that doesn’t mean all of them are ready to fire. Warheads are mounted on missiles and countries do not keep all their nuclear warheads ready for use. Estimating the nuclear stockpile also classifies warheads as deployed, stockpiled, or retired. Deployed warheads are mounted on intercontinental missiles, at heavy bomber bases… Reserve warheads are in storage and are not deployed on launchers. The retired warheads are still intact but are lined up for dismantling.

According to the latest figures, Russia has 1,600 deployed warheads, 2,897 warheads in reserve, and 1,760 retired warheads. The US has 1,800, 2,000 and 1,750, respectively; China – 0, 350 and 0; France – 280, 10, 0; England – 120, 105, 0; Pakistan 0, 165, 0; India – 0, 160, 0; Israel – 0, 90, 0; North Korea – 0, 45, 0. There are four countries that officially deploy warheads, while most of the world’s nuclear stockpile is in reserve.

Some countries are expected to further strengthen their stockpiles of nuclear weapons. The British government has announced it will increase its stockpile to no more than 260 warheads while US intelligence predicts China, India and Pakistan will also increase their stockpiles. Although the world’s nuclear stockpile is likely to continue to decline due to the exclusion of the US and Russia, the reality of 2021 in countries with nuclear weapons shows that the trend of increasing nuclear weapons is still on the rise. have advantages.

Author : Tufail Bakshi

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