Saturday

21st Oct 2017

Nuclear weapons more modern, fewer in number

  • The United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan and Israel have around 4,400 operational nuclear weapons (Photo: jonkeegan)

The Stockholm-based arms-control institute, Sipri, released a report on Monday (4 June) claiming nuclear warheads are fewer in number but are increasingly more sophisticated.

The United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan and Israel collectively have around 4,400 operational nuclear weapons.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

An operational nuclear weapon is one where a warhead is placed on a missile or located on an active military base, for instance. Some 2,000 are kept in a state of high operational alert, says Sipri.

The eight states currently possess a total of approximately 19,000 nuclear weapons, compared to 20,530 at the beginning of 2011.

The drop in numbers comes primarily from existing Russian and US stockpiles where some of the weapons are simply too old, says the report.

"In spite of the world's revived interest in disarmament efforts, none of the nuclear weapon-possessing states shows more than a rhetorical willingness to give up their nuclear arsenals just yet," said Shannon Kile, a senior Sipri researcher.

Instead, new nuclear weapons delivery systems or their plans are currently underway in China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.

"The long-term modernisation programmes under way in these states suggest that nuclear weapons are still a currency of international status and power," added Kile.

Nato announced plans to replace its aging 180 B61 free-fall tactical nuclear bombs stored in bases in Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany and Turkey in early May.

The US bombs are being replaced with precision-guided B61-12 nuclear gravity bombs. The upgrade comes with an estimated €3 billion price-tag.

According to a report by the European Leadership Network (ELN), a UK-based think-tank, the nuclear bombs positioned throughout the European countries have no guidance systems. The upgrade could provoke an arms race, warned ELN.

Meanwhile, Russian defence sources told the Interfax news agency on 23 May that they have tested a new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) specifically designed to penetrate Nato’s European missile defence shield. The missile has a 6,000 km range.

Nato had earlier announced a new shield aimed to safeguard the continent from possible attacks by rogue states like Iran. But Russia claims the Nato shield actually seeks to undermine its nuclear deterrent.

A new 2010 arms-control treaty caps the number of strategic nuclear weapons to 1,550 strategic nuclear weapons and 700 delivery devices.

The United States currently has 1,737 field strategic nuclear warheads carried by 812 active ICBMs, submarines-based missiles and bombers. Russia has 1,492 warheads on 494 ICBMs, according to ELN.

Investigation

The mysterious German behind Orban's Russian deals

Klaus Mangold, a German businessman with good connections in Russia, and who provided a jet for Commission vice-president Guenther Oettinger, played a crucial role in Hungary's controversial Paks nuclear deal with Russia, Direkt36's investigation has found.

Turkey funding cuts signal EU mood shift

EU leaders at their summit spent some three hours deliberating on relations with Turkey before asking the EU commission to come up with a plan on cutting and reorienting some €4.5 billion in pre-accession aid.

Agenda

Posted workers top EU agenda This Week

The posted workers file will be on the table of ministers and MEPs this week, while budget, journalism, Schengen and party funding are also on the EP's plenary menu.

Turkey funding cuts signal EU mood shift

EU leaders at their summit spent some three hours deliberating on relations with Turkey before asking the EU commission to come up with a plan on cutting and reorienting some €4.5 billion in pre-accession aid.

News in Brief

  1. Rajoy to trigger Article 155 on Saturday in Catalan crisis
  2. EU conducts unannounced inspection of German car firm
  3. Lithuania calls for new EU energy laws
  4. EU leaders aim for December for defence cooperation
  5. Juncker says hands tied on Russia pipeline
  6. Czechs set to elect billionaire Andrej Babis
  7. Italian regions hold referendums on more autonomy
  8. EU leaders refuse to mediate Catalonia conflict

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi Jinping Proposes Stronger Global Security Governance at Interpol Assembly
  2. European Friends of ArmeniaEU Engagement Could Contribute to Lasting Peace in Nagorno-Karabakh
  3. UNICEFViolence in Myanmar Driving 12,000 Rohingya Refugee Children Into Bangladesh Every Week
  4. European Jewish CongressBulgaria Applauded for Adopting the Working Definition of Antisemitism
  5. EU2017EENorth Korea Leaves Europe No Choice, Says Estonian Foreign Minister Sven Mikser
  6. Mission of China to the EUZhang Ming Appointed New Ambassador of the Mission of China to the EU
  7. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Should Seek Concrete Commitments From Azerbaijan at Human Rights Dialogue
  8. European Jewish CongressEJC Calls for New Austrian Government to Exclude Extremist Freedom Party
  9. CES - Silicones EuropeIn Healthcare, Silicones Are the Frontrunner. And That's a Good Thing!
  10. EU2017EEEuropean Space Week 2017 in Tallinn from November 3-9. Register Now!
  11. European Entrepreneurs CEA-PMEMobiliseSME Exchange Programme Open Doors for 400 Companies Across Europe
  12. CECEE-Privacy Regulation – Hands off M2M Communication!

Latest News

  1. The mysterious German behind Orban's Russian deals
  2. Mogherini urged to do more on Russian propaganda
  3. Turkey funding cuts signal EU mood shift
  4. Posted workers top EU agenda This Week
  5. Leaders lobby to host EU agencies at summit's margins
  6. Legal tweak could extend EU control on Russia pipeline
  7. Ukraine language law does not harm minorities
  8. EU begins preparations for Brexit trade talks