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Status of World Nuclear Forces 

More than two decades after the Cold War ended, the world's combined inventory of nuclear warheads remains at a very high level: more than 17,000. Of these, some 4,300 warheads are considered operational, of which about 1,800 US and Russian warheads are on high alert, ready for use on short notice.

Despite significant reductions in US, Russian, French and British nuclear forces compared with Cold War levels, all the nuclear weapon states continue to modernize their remaining nuclear forces and appear committed to retaining nuclear weapons for the indefinite future.

The exact number of nuclear weapons in each country's possession is a closely held national secret. Despite this limitation, however, publicly available information and occasional leaks make it possible to make best estimates about the size and composition of the national nuclear weapon stockpiles:

Status of World Nuclear Forces 2013*

 Country Operational
Total Inventory
 Russia  1,800a 0b  2,700c 4,500  8,500d
 United States  1,950e 200f
 2,500g 4,650 7,700h
 France  290 n.a. ?i 300 300
 China  0j ?j 180
 United Kingdom 160k n.a. 65 225 225k
 Israel  0 n.a. 80 80 80l
 Pakistan  0 n.a. 100-120 100-120 100-120m
 India  0 n.a. 90-110 90-110 90-110n
 North Korea  0 n.a. <10 <10 <10o


 ~4,200 ~200 ~5,800 ~10,200  ~17,300

* All numbers are approximate estimates and further described in the Nuclear Notebook in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, and the nuclear appendix in the SIPRI Yearbook. See also status and 10-year projection of U.S. and Russian forces. Additional reports are published on the FAS Strategic Security Blog. Unlike those publications, this table is updated continuously as new information becomes available. Current update: 2013.

 a This number is higher than the aggregate data under the New START treaty because this table also counts bomber weapons at bomber bases as deployed. Detailed overview of Russian forces is here.
 b All are declared to be in central storage. Several thousand retired non-strategic warheads are awaiting dismantlement.
 c Includes all non-strategic warheads, strategic warheads assigned to delivery systems in overhaul, and most bomber weapons.
 d In addition to the 4,500 in the military stockpile, 4,000 retired warheads are estimated to be awaiting dismantlement. Details are scarce, but we estimate that Russia is dismantling approximately 1,000 retired warheads per year.
 e This number is higher than the aggregate data released under the New START data because this table also counts bomber weapons on bomber bases as deployed. See here for analysis of aggregate data.
 f Some 160-200 B61 bombs are deployed in Europe at six bases in five countries (Belgiium, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Turkey). For details, see here and here.
 g Non-deployed reserve includes an estimated 2,200 strategic and 300 non-strategic warheads in central storage. Some 260 nonstrategic W80-0 warheads for the Tomahawk land-attack cruise missile (TLAM/N) have been retired.
 h In addition to the nearly 4,650 warheads in the military stockpile, approximately 3,000 retired warheads are awaiting dismantlement. In addition, more than 15,000 plutonium cores (pits) and some 5,000 Canned Assemblies (secondaries) from dismantled warheads are in storage at the Pantex Plant in Texas and Y-12 plant in Tennessee. For detailed overview of U.S. forces, see here.
 i France has stated that it has no reserve, but it probably has a small inventory of spare warheads. For an update of the French nuclear posture, see this article.
 j China is thought to have "several hundred warheads," far less than the 1,600-3,000 that have been suggested by some. None of the warheads are thought to be fully deployed but kept in storage under central control. The exstence of a Chinese non-strategic nuclear arsenal is uncertain. The Chinese arsenal is increasing with production of new warheads for DF-31/31A and JL-2 missiles. Detailed overview of Chinese forces is here.
 k Of these "operationally available" warheads, “up to 48 warheads” are on patrol at any given time. The number of "operational missiles" on each sub will be reduced to "no more than eight" with 40 warheads in the next few years. By the mid-2020s, the stockpile will be reduced to "not more than 180." Detailed overview of British forces is here.
 l Although Israel has produced enough plutonium for 100-200 warheads, the number of delivery platforms and estimates made by the U.S. intelligence community suggest that the stockpile might include approximately 80 warheads. Detailed overview of Israeli forces is here.
 m The U.S. intelligence community estimates that Pakistan has produced 90-110 warheads. None of these are thought to be deployed but kept in central storage, most in the southern parts of the country. More warheads are in production. Detailed overview here.
 n Indian nuclear warheads are not deployed but in central storage. More warheads are in production. Detailed overview of Indian forces is here.
 o Despite two North Korean nuclear tests, there is no publicly available evidence that North Korea has operationalized its nuclear weapons capability. A 2009 world survey by the U.S. Air Force National Air and Space Intelligence Center (NASIC) does not credit any of North Korea's ballistic missiles with nuclear capability.
 p Numbers may not add up due to rounding and uncertainty about the operational status of the four lesser nuclear weapons states and the uncertainty about the size of the total inventories of three of the five initial nuclear powers.

The information available for each country varies greatly, ranging from the most transparent nuclear weapons state (United States) to the most opaque (North Korea). Accordingly, while the estimate for the United States is based on "real" numbers, the estimates for several of the other nuclear weapon states are highly uncertain. 

Additional Information (not updated): 
Detailed World Summary
Former country profiles (not updated): RussiaUnited States | France | China | United Kingdom | Israel | Pakistan | India | North Korea
Maintained by: Hans M. Kristensen