US Disclosure of Operational Warhead Totals

“This disclosure is a monumental step toward greater nuclear transparency that breaks with outdated Cold War nuclear secrecy and will put significant pressure on other weapon states to reciprocate.” Hans M. Kristensen (Federation of American Scientists)

As noted here yesterday,[i] based on a New York Times report, the US Government has issued a fact sheet disclosing for the first time the number of warheads in its stockpile – a total of 5,113 strategic and non-strategic warheads.[ii] The disclosure and its implications are thoroughly examined by Hans Kristensen on the Federation of American Scientists site,[iii] showing, among other things, just how close FAS and NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) estimates have been to the official numbers.

The following table summarizes current estimates of total (22,500) nuclear warheads – go to FAS, NDRC, and the DOD Fact Sheet for the numbers and explanations by the officials and experts.

Warhead

Categories

US

Russia

China

France

UK

India

Israel

Pakistan

N. Korea

Operational

(Strategic)

1,968

2,600

180

300

160

80

80

90

<10

Operational

(non-strategic)

500

2,050

Non-deployed 2,641 4,450 60
Total

Stockpile

5,113

9,000

240

300

160

80

80

90

<10

Awaiting

Dismantlement

4,500

3,000

Total

Warheads

9.613

12,000

240

300

160

80

80

90

<10

The DOD fact sheet also provides an interesting schedule of warhead dismantlements by th Department of Energy from 1994 to 2009. The average rate is of about 550 warheads dismantled per year, although the rate in recent years is well down from that of the mid-1990s

eregehr@ploughshares.ca

Notes


[i] “The Global Nuclear Arsenal and the NPT Conference,” DisarmingConflict, 3 May 2010.http://www.cigionline.org/blogs/2010/5/global-nuclear-arsenal-and-npt-conference.

[ii] Available at: http://www.defense.gov/npr/docs/10-05-03_Fact_Sheet_US_Nuclear_Transparency__FINAL_w_Date.pdf

[iii] Hans M. Kristensen, “United States Discloses Size of Nuclear Weapons Stockpile,” 3 May 2010.http://www.fas.org/blog/ssp/2010/05/stockpilenumber.php.

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