As a weapon of mass destruction, nuclear warheads are part of the defense arsenal of some countries in the world. There were approximately 12,500 nuclear warheads worldwide as of January 2023 and almost 90 percent of them belong to two countries: the United States and Russia. Even though the number of nuclear weapons worldwide has been decreasing since the Cold War, still the same two countries possess the majority of them.
What are nuclear warheads?
Nuclear warheads are weapons of mass destruction and are able to destroy whole cities and kill millions of people. They also have tremendous long-lasting effects on the environment and future generations due to radioactive contamination taking its toll years after the explosion. They have only been used once; by the United States in 1945 in Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the final stage of World War 2. Despite the devastating nature of nuclear weapons, some countries have been carrying out nuclear tests regularly.
There have been debates about the prohibition of nuclear weapons due to the enormous destructive power that they have. In July of 2017, the United Nations General Assembly voted on the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. There were 139 countries that supported the treaty and positioned themselves against the possession of nuclear weapons. However, as the forecasted budget for the nuclear weapons program of the United States from 2022 shows, the investments in this area are increasing rather than decreasing. Similar attitudes can be expected from the Russian government.
Number of nuclear warheads worldwide as of January 2023
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SIPRI. (June 12, 2023). Number of nuclear warheads worldwide as of January 2023 [Graph]. In Statista. Retrieved December 02, 2023, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/264435/number-of-nuclear-warheads-worldwide/
SIPRI. "Number of nuclear warheads worldwide as of January 2023." Chart. June 12, 2023. Statista. Accessed December 02, 2023. https://www.statista.com/statistics/264435/number-of-nuclear-warheads-worldwide/
SIPRI. (2023). Number of nuclear warheads worldwide as of January 2023. Statista. Statista Inc.. Accessed: December 02, 2023. https://www.statista.com/statistics/264435/number-of-nuclear-warheads-worldwide/
SIPRI. "Number of Nuclear Warheads Worldwide as of January 2023." Statista, Statista Inc., 12 Jun 2023, https://www.statista.com/statistics/264435/number-of-nuclear-warheads-worldwide/
SIPRI, Number of nuclear warheads worldwide as of January 2023 Statista, https://www.statista.com/statistics/264435/number-of-nuclear-warheads-worldwide/ (last visited December 02, 2023)
Number of nuclear warheads worldwide as of January 2023 [Graph], SIPRI, June 12, 2023. [Online]. Available: https://www.statista.com/statistics/264435/number-of-nuclear-warheads-worldwide/