Home Sciences 13,400 atomic bombs threaten life on the planet

13,400 atomic bombs threaten life on the planet

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There are currently 13,400 nuclear warheads in the world., based on 2019 UN figures, which roughly match amounts estimated by other sources. Although this is far less than the estimated 80,000 at the height of the Cold War, it is still enough to wipe out life on Earth.

In October 2021, in a drastic change from the Trump administration, the government of US President Joe Biden revealed the figures of his country’s nuclear arsenal. The United States has 3,750 nuclear warheads. and another 2,000 are in storage waiting to be dismantled, according to a statement from the State Department. Added together, they exceed 5,000 heads.

What other countries have nuclear weapons and how many?

Data on nuclear stocks varies from one source to another. The following information comes from the BBC, which quotes Nuclear Threat Initiative and accounts for the countries with the most confirmed nuclear weapons besides the United States.

China.- 290 warheads, approximately 90 nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).

France.- Approximately 290 nuclear warheads, but according to the Federation of American Scientists it would be 350.

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India.- Between 130 and 140 nuclear warheads.

Pakistan.- 90-110 nuclear warheads; around 160 according to the American federation.

Russia.- 1,444 warheads deployed on 527 ICBMs, submarine-launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs), and heavy bomber warheads. If warheads not deployed, in storage or awaiting decommissioning are also counted, the total stockpile would come to 6,370 weapons.

United Kingdom.- Approximately 225 strategic warheads.

Apart from these nations, there are other countries with unconfirmed nuclear weapons:Israel.- It is suspected that it has enough plutonium for between 100 and 200 nuclear weapons, somewhat less according to the Federation of American Scientists.

North Korea .- It has carried out at least six nuclear tests since 2006. In 2017, it claimed to have successfully carried out its first test of an intercontinental ballistic missile, and each year it would have enough plutonium and enriched uranium to make 12 warheads.

There were up to 80,000 head at the height of the Cold War

Nevertheless, in recent years many atomic weapons have been destroyed. The United States, compared to the current 3,750 nuclear warheads, accumulated more than 30,000 in the 1960s, while the Soviet Union reached 40,000 at the end of the 1980s, just before this power dismembered.

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The reduction produced, therefore, is enormous, thanks to the disarmament agreements that began to be signed already in the middle of the Cold War. However, experts point out, there is a paradox: although the destruction of nuclear weapons continues very slowly, at the same time they are being modernized to give them greater destructive efficiency.

The most powerful nuclear bomb in existence today is still the so-called ‘Tsar bomb’, built by the USSR and detonated as a test in 1961, demonstrating its terrifying destructive power, equivalent to 3,125 times the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima in 1945. It has a power of 50 megatons, double that of the largest US nuclear weapon.

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Environment section contact: crisisclimatica@prensaiberica.es

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