Nuclear weapons are very powerful and can kill everyone in a city in just a few minutes. Moreover, because they change the environment for future generations, their radioactive effects can still be seen long after the damage they cause.
About 13,000 nuclear bombs are out there in the world. People know that these weapons can kill and destroy a lot of people. Because of this, nuclear war is not a joke, and threats of nuclear attacks are taken seriously.
The US used nuclear bombs for the first time in 1945 when they hit Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II. Since then, many countries have kept making nuclear weapons.
Some people wonder which country has the most nuclear weapons in the world. This article will enlighten you more about countries with the most nuclear weapons.
Countries With The Most Nuclear Weapons
The United States and Russia have traditionally been at the core of the nuclear arms race.
The two superpowers of the world competed to develop more nuclear weapons and more effective ones than the other after the conclusion of World War II and far into the Cold War.
Even though international groups worked to abolish nuclear weapons, in 1986, there were 70,300 warheads in the world’s nuclear arsenal.
The United States and Russia reduced their stockpiles as non-proliferation treaties and arms accords gained more traction, but new nuclear-armed nations emerged.
Let’s see the countries with the most nuclear weapons.
1. Russia(6,257 Nuclear weapons)
The Soviet Union did the first nuclear test in 1949. (RDS-1). Part of this crash project’s knowledge came from spies who worked during and after World War II. Nuclear weapons were initially produced and tested by the US. The second nation in the world to follow suit was the Soviet Union.
Most estimates say that Russia has the largest nuclear arsenal in the world. The Stockholm Peace Institute says that as of the end of 2021, Putin had 6,257 nuclear weapons. Other groups that keep an eye on nuclear proliferation think the number is between 5,977 and 6,257.
The current number includes 1,760 warheads that are thought to be being taken out of service. So even though Russia still has a lot of nuclear arsenals, the number has gone down since 1991, when the USSR broke up, and Russia got 35,000.
Nuclear weapons were initially produced and tested by the US. The second nation in the world to follow suit was the Soviet Union. The pact caps the number of strategic nuclear bombs and warheads at 1,550.
2. The US(5,550 Nuclear weapons)
During World War II, the US, UK, and Canada worked together on the Manhattan Project to make the first nuclear arsenals. They did this because they feared Nazi Germany would make them first.
It became the first nation to use nuclear weapons in war. On July 16, 1945, it killed everyone in the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It is the only country worldwide that has ever used nuclear bombs in battle.
It became the first country to test a hydrogen bomb prototype in 1952 and the first to test a weapon that could be used immediately in 1954.
During the Cold War, it kept improving and adding to its nuclear weapons, but since 1992, it has mostly focused on taking care of its stockpiles.
The US has about 5,550 nuclear weapons, and about 1,800 are “deployed,” meaning they are on missiles or at bases with active forces.
Only the US has ever used an atomic bomb in a war.
3. China(350 Nuclear weapons)
In 1964, China did its first test of a nuclear weapon at the Lop Nur site. The weapon was made to make both the US and the USSR less likely to attack.
China made a fission bomb that could be put on a nuclear missile two years later. Then, after testing its first nuclear bomb 32 months earlier, it tried its first hydrogen bomb.
After the US and Russia, each country has a much smaller nuclear weapon. China doesn’t have nearly as many resources as the US does.
A Pentagon report from last November said China’s nuclear arsenal was growing faster than the US had thought a year before. The US worries that China will have more than 1,000 weapons by 2030.
4. France(290 Nuclear weapons)
France is one of the countries with the most nuclear weaponry in the world. It has 290 nuclear weapons. Most of these weapons are kept on submarines. The rest are cruise missiles that are launched from the air.
The country did its first test of a nuclear attack in 1960. France says it will keep its nuclear weapons at the “lowest strategic level possible” and follow a ” strict sufficiency policy.”
5. United Kingdom(225 Nuclear weapons)
The first nuclear bomb was tested in the United Kingdom, “Hurricane,” in 1952. Early supporters of the idea of an atomic bomb were Austrian, German, and Polish physicists working in British institutions who had left or refused to return to Nazi Germany or countries under Nazi control.
The UK worked closely with the US and Canada during the Manhattan Project. However, after 1945, when the US became more secretive, the UK had to devise a way to make and set off a bomb.
The United Kingdom became the third country in the world to make and test nuclear weaponry after the United States and the Soviet Union. The United Kingdom has about 225 nuclear weapons.
It began making nuclear weapons during World War II. Arms are set up at sea, and US-made Trident submarine-launched ballistic missiles are used to deliver them. A trident is a group of four submarines run by the Royal Navy out of HMNB Clyde in Scotland.
So far, the government has tested 45 nuclear weapons.
6. Pakistan(165 Nuclear weapons)
Pakistan is not a part of the Non-Proliferation Treaty because it has not signed it. Pakistan has been making nuclear weaponry in secret since the late 1970s. Pakistan’s first nuclear weapon was made in the early 1970s when it built its first nuclear power plant in Karachi. Most of the equipment and parts for this plant came from the West.
In 1971, Pakistan’s President Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto said that if India could make nuclear weapons, so could Pakistan: “We would build nuclear stockpiles even if we had to eat grass.”
Pakistan has 165 nuclear weapons, and by 2021, it wants to have even more. India’s bad relationship with the country has a big effect on how fast the country makes nuclear weapons. In 1988, Pakistan started testing nuclear weapons again, saying it was for national security.
7. India(160 Nuclear weapons)
India is not part of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The “no first use” policy was implemented in India in 1998. India tested a “peaceful nuclear explosive” in 1974. This test became known as “Smiling Buddha.”
The first test was done after the NPT was made, and it made people worry about how civilian nuclear technology could be used in secret for military purposes (dual-use technology).
India and Pakistan have been in a race to get as many weapons as possible for a long time. But on the other hand, recent tense relations with China make it harder to make nuclear weapons.
So, every time India tries to update its nuclear weapons, Pakistan will see it as a threat. This will make the nuclear arms race worse.
8. North Korea
In February 2005, North Korea said it had nuclear weapons that worked, but it hadn’t done a test yet, so many experts didn’t believe it. In October 2006, North Korea said it would do a nuclear test to prove that it had the right to nuclear weapons. This was in response to the US making more threats. On October 9, 2006, North Korea said it had done a nuclear test that went well.
North Korea, known for being secretive, is thought to have the fewest nuclear weapons on the list, with 50. In 2018, the government agreed to stop testing nuclear weapons and long-range missiles, but long-range missile tests started again in 2020.
Kim Jong Un has had North Korea do a lot of missile tests over the Sea of Japan, which has made people more worried about an attack. In addition, Kim has said that his country will get more military and nuclear weapons.
The United States and Russia have many nuclear weapons compared to other nuclear powers. These two countries were racing to make the most powerful nuclear weapons during the Cold War.
You could also think about the terrible damage and effects of the two nuclear bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and wonder why any government would want tens of thousands of nuclear warheads.
However, from a political standpoint, building up weaponry was a way to demonstrate that one country was the strongest in the world, even though only a small portion of that would be sufficient to end the world as we know it.
Due to the arms race during the Cold War, Russia and the US still have the most nuclear weapons.