16,300 nukes still threaten life on earth

nuclear_weaponsScientists say that there are about 16,300 nuclear weapons located at some 98 sites in 14 countries, in an article published in Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

Roughly 10,000 of the weapons are in military arsenals and the rest are retired and awaiting dismantlement, say Hans M. Kristensen, director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists, and Robert S. Norris, a senior fellow for nuclear policy.

About 4,000 nuclear weapons are operational, including 1,800 on high alert and ready for use on short notice.

Russia and the United States, combined, possess more than 90 percent of the total global stockpile.

The United States currently keeps nuclear weapons at 18 sites, including 12 sites in 11 states and another six sites in five European nations. The United States is the only nuclear-armed state that deploys nuclear weapons in other countries.

There is considerable uncertainty about the number of storage sites in the former Soviet Union and communist China, but the authors estimate that Russia’s permanent cache of nuclear weapons now includes 40 domestic locations.

“We cautiously estimate that China may have nuclear warheads at 12 facilities,” wrote the authors. “Nearly all of China’s 250 nuclear warheads are concentrated in the central nuclear weapons storage site.”


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