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Nine countries in the world are nuclear-capable: China, France, India, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. As of January 2017, these nuclear powers possessed approximately 14,935 nuclear weapons, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

  • Almost 40 percent of total nuclear forces are warheads in central storage that would require some preparation to deploy, such as transportation and loading onto launchers.
  • SIPRI estimates that 27.8 percent of total nuclear forces are warheads placed on missiles or located on bases with operational forces. Russia and the US possess the largest nuclear warhead arsenals in combat readiness, with 1,950 and 1,800 weapons, respectively.

Even as the total global nuclear weapons arsenal has gradually decreased, some of the nuclear nine continue to build their nuclear potential. The global stockpile of nuclear weapons has decreased almost fourfold since 1986 when the volume of these weapons reached a peak of about 65,000 units.

  • China, India, and Pakistan have each added 10 nuclear warheads to their arsenals during 2017. 
  • In addition, US President Donald Trump said in July that he wants to achieve a huge increase in nuclear capability of the United States. According to research estimates, half of the US' existing weapons stock contains enough power to destroy the population of more than a dozen countries.
  • During 2017, North Korea also performed nuclear tests in violation of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty of 1996, which banned nuclear explosions. 
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