The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) today launches its annual assessment of the state of armaments, disarmament and international security. A key finding of SIPRI Yearbook 2023 is that the number of operational nuclear weapons started to rise as countries’ long-term force modernisation and expansion plans progressed.
Nuclear arsenals being fortified around the world
The nine nuclear-armed states—the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) and Israel—continue to modernise their nuclear arsenals and several deployed new nuclear-armed or nuclear-capable weapon systems in 2022.
Of the total global inventory of an estimated 12 512 warheads in January 2023, about 9576 were in military stockpiles for potential use—86 more than in January 2022 (see the table below). Of those, an estimated 3844 warheads were deployed with missiles and aircraft, and around 2000—nearly all of which belonged to Russia or the USA—were kept in a state of high operational alert, meaning that they were fitted to missiles or held at airbases hosting nuclear bombers.
Russia and the USA together possess almost 90 per cent of all nuclear weapons. The sizes of their respective nuclear arsenals (i.e. usable warheads) seem to have remained relatively stable in 2022, although transparency regarding nuclear forces declined in both countries in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Learn More /…