What countries are capable of launching nuclear attacks? There are now nine nations in the world that have nuclear weapons, including the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.
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Each one of the countries in the world that possesses nuclear weapons (and How Many They Have)
- Russia – 6,255 nuclear warheads
- United States of America – 5,550 nuclear warheads
- China – 350 nuclear warheads
- France – 290 nuclear warheads
- United Kingdom – 225 nuclear warheads
- Pakistan – 165 nuclear warheads
- India – 156 nuclear warheads
- Israel – 90 nuclear warheads
- North Korea – none, but material to build 40-50 nuclear warheads
Nuclear bomb basics
The definition of nuclear weapons should be the first step in any debate about which nations have them. In its most basic form, a nuclear weapon is the most powerful explosive known to man.
A single contemporary nuclear weapon has the explosive force of 100,000 metric tons of TNT and can wipe out more than 500,000 people if used in a heavily populated region.
Historically, there are three kinds of nuclear weapons:
Weapons of pure fission are the simplest and the only form that has been utilized in military conflict. Atoms in uranium or plutonium are torn apart in fission weapons to produce energy.
Boosted fission weapons: By adding a little amount of fusion fuel to the fission explosion (which splits atoms), these weapons can quadruple their destructive force.
Tactical thermonuclear weapons: The most devastating kind of nuclear weapons. Fission or boosted fission reactions are used in these weapons to trigger a pure fusion reaction, increasing their destructive power by up to 100 times.
Fission weapons have been dubbed atomic/atom bombs, whereas fusion weapons have been referred to as hydrogen bombs in the past. The atomic bomb has been replaced by a nuclear weapon, also used as a broad phrase to refer to any of these weapons.
In contrast, the thermonuclear weapon in today’s language has replaced the hydrogen bomb.
Little Boy and Hiroshima
Only twice during World War II did the United States utilize nuclear bombs in combat, near the close of the conflict. On August 6, 1945, a uranium cannon fission bomb, dubbed Little Boy, was dropped from a Boeing B-29 Superfortress on the Japanese city of Hiroshima.
Sixty-six thousand to eighty thousand people were killed, with the long-term consequences of radiation sickness and leukemia raising this figure to 90,000-140,000.
Sixty-nine thousand people were injured, and 4.7 square miles of the city were leveled. Despite the bomb’s extraordinary destructive force and the Soviet Union’s declaration of war, Japan’s leadership promised to battle on.
As a result, the United States devised a strategy to strike a second target.
Nagasaki and Fat Man
U.S. bombers dropped a second nuclear bomb, dubbed Fat Man, just over Nagasaki, Japan, on August 9, 1945, barely three days after Hiroshima was struck by the first.
Even though clouds and haze made targeting difficult and detonated the bomb two miles from its original goal, the explosion still killed nearly 35,000-40,000 people instantaneously (and around 60,000 wounded), with long-term consequences bringing the death toll to 39,000-80,000 people over time.
Japan surrendered in the face of relentless bombs, ending World War II.
The modern era’s arsenal of nuclear weapons
After the United States and the newly founded Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R.) used nuclear bombs to finish World War II, a nuclear arms race ensued, with each country attempting to produce and prepare many nuclear weapons as possible.
There were approximately 70,000 missile-mounted nuclear warheads when this proliferation peaked in 1986.
Immediately started to decline sharply with mutual disarmament agreements, such as the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) of 1987 and the Strategic Arms Reduction Talks that began in the 1980s.
According to current estimates, a little more than 13,000 nuclear weapons are expected to be on hand by the year 2021.
These are profiles of the nine nuclear countries.
Eight separate countries have successfully detonated nuclear bombs throughout the globe, and the ninth looks to be capable of doing so.
Those five permanent United Nations Security Council members—the United States, Russia, China, France, and Great Britain—are allowed to have nuclear weapons on their soil without any rationale or explanation according to the 1970 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
North Korea, India, and Pakistan have all conducted nuclear tests despite not signing the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Because North Korea looks to be defying United Nations resolutions prohibiting the nation from developing nuclear weapons or ballistic missiles, the country’s nuclear capacity is the most significant of the three.
Israeli nuclear weapons have never been tested, although the nation is known to have them despite this. Many Christians, Muslims, and Jews see Israel as a holy land because of this. Israel’s leadership has no official confirmation or denial of the country’s nuclear capability.
The Complete Nuclear Test Ban Treaty of 1996 advocated that no new nations be permitted to produce or possess nuclear weapons. However, any government using nuclear power plants to generate energy might conceivably also develop nuclear weapons.
This category includes both countries that have not had nuclear weapons and those that had had but no longer have them. South Africa, Belarus, Ukraine, & Kazakhstan are a few of these nations.
Also See: Aircraft Carriers by Country 2022
Do the United States and Russia have the same nuclear weapons?
The United States is expected to have 5,550 nuclear weapons by 2021. About 1,800 of them have been strategically deployed, and the other 3,750 are either in storage or at different stages of readiness. However, they could be swiftly made available in an emergency.
At its height, the United States had 31,225 in 1967 and 22,217 in 1989. However, this is only a fraction of that number. Even though Russia’s nuclear arsenal has shrunk over time, it still has 6255 warheads, 1625 strategically stationed and ready to go off at a moment’s notice.
|Year of First Test