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 Status of global nuclear forces infographic
Graphic charts U.S., Russian and other nations’ nuclear warhead inventories since 1945.


Global nuclear weapon stockpiles remain high

By Ninian Carter

October 4, 2022 - The world’s inventory of nuclear weapons remains very high, despite sizeable reductions since the end of the Cold War, with nine countries in possession of approximately 12,700 warheads.

Around 90 percent of all nuclear warheads are owned by Russia and the United States (roughly 4,000 warheads each), with other nuclear states seeing no need for any more than a few hundred nuclear weapons each.

Overall inventories have been declining since the height of the Cold War in 1986, when collectively there were an astonishing 70,374 nuclear warheads stockpiled. However, since the late 1990s the rate of decline has been slowing down, with some nations like Russia starting to increase them again – they now have an estimated 4,477 nuclear warheads, compared to the U.S.’s 3,708.

Of the world’s 12,700 nuclear warheads, more than 9,400 are in military stockpiles ready for use by missiles, aircraft, ships and submarines. The remaining warheads have been retired but are still relatively intact and awaiting dismantlement.

Of those stockpiled 9,440 warheads, approximately 3,730 are deployed with operational forces (on missiles or bomber bases) – 2,000 of which are on high alert, ready for use at short notice.

Note: All numbers are estimates made by the Federation of American Scientists.

PUBLISHED: 04/10/2022; STORY: Graphic News