A report finds that 86 more nukes have been added to global stockpiles since 2022

According to the Swedish think tank SIPRI, a shocking new report indicates that nuclear weapons are increasing, not decreasing.
Christopher McFadden
This is very troubling news, indeed.


A troubling report from The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) indicates that the number of nuclear weapons worldwide is increasing. This, SIPRI warns, suggests that the world is “drifting into one of the most dangerous periods in human history.” This is especially the case as, as the Guardian points out, a time in history with deteriorating international relations and the escalation of nuclear saber-rattling.

As per the latest report by SIPRI, it is estimated that there are 12,512 warheads worldwide, of which 9,576 are currently held in military stockpiles and ready for potential use. This marks an increase of 86 from the previous year and ends the period of gradual decline that followed the end of the Cold War. According to the SIPRI, China is believed to have acquired 60 of these new warheads.

"China has started a significant expansion of its nuclear arsenal," says Hans M. Kristensen, Associate Senior Fellow with SIPRI’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Programme and Director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists (FAS). "It is increasingly difficult to square this trend with China’s declared aim of having only the minimum nuclear forces needed to maintain its national security," he added.

Several new weapons have been reported to be owned by various countries, including Russia (12), Pakistan (5), North Korea (5), and India (4). The number of battle-ready warheads has increased, even though the United Nations' five permanent security council members (US, Russia, China, UK, and France) released a statement in 2021 emphasizing that nuclear war cannot be won and should never be fought.

Russia and the US own almost 90 percent of the world's nuclear weapons. Both countries have over 1,000 retired warheads that they are currently dismantling. According to Sipri, out of the 12,512 warheads in the world, including retired and waiting to be dismantled, approximately 3,844 are in use with missiles and aircraft.

Approximately 2,000 nuclear weapons exist, with the majority owned by Russia or the US. These weapons are kept in a state of high alert, which means they are either attached to missiles or stored at airbases that house nuclear bombers. However, it is challenging to understand the situation entirely because certain nations, such as Russia, the US, and the UK, have reduced their level of transparency, especially after Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine.

It is reported that China, the third-largest nuclear power globally, has raised the number of its warheads from 350 in January 2022 to 410 in January 2023. Despite the expectation of further growth, according to Sipri, China's arsenal is unlikely to surpass those of the US and Russia.

Dan Smith, a director at Sipri, said: “We are drifting into one of the most dangerous periods in human history. It is imperative that the world’s governments find ways to cooperate in order to calm geopolitical tensions, slow arms races, and deal with the worsening consequences of environmental breakdown and rising world hunger.”

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