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Nuclear Weapons: Who owns what?

* Iran maintains that it is enriching uranium for civilian energy purposes only, but the International Atomic Energy Agency says Iran has not been cooperating enough for the agency to verify whether the intent is solely for peaceful means. As a result, the U.N. Security Council and a number of Western nations have placed economic and arms-related sanctions on Iran.

Country First test Most recent test Total tests Estimated warheads
United States 1945 1992 1,054 7,650
Russia 1949 1990 715 8,420
United Kingdom 1952 1991 45 225
France 1960 1996 210 300
China 1964 1996 45 240
India 1974 1998 6 80-100
Pakistan 1998 1998 6 90-110
North Korea 2006 2013 3 Fewer than 10
Israel No confirmed test No confirmed test No confirmed test 80
Iran No confirmed test No confirmed test No confirmed test 0
USA USA Russia France UK China India Pakistan North Korea Israel Iran
Sources: Federation of American Scientists, CIA World Factbook, Nuclear Threat Initiative, U.S. Census Bureau

United States

  • Known to have nuclear weapons
First test Most recent test Total tests

The United States has conducted more nuclear tests than the rest of the world combined and is the only country to have used a nuclear weapon in combat. The United States is also the only nuclear power with weapons deployed in other countries: Through NATO’s nuclear sharing program, there are U.S. bombs in Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey.

Through various treaties, the United States and its former Cold War adversary, Russia, have been working together to reduce their vast nuclear arsenals, which are easily the two largest in the world. Both countries have the capability to launch nuclear weapons via land, air and sea.

As of December 2012, the United States was estimated to have about 2,150 operational warheads — weapons that are deployed or could be deployed at short notice. An additional 2,500 warheads are believed to be in reserve, and 3,000 more are retired and awaiting dismantlement, according to the Federation of American Scientists.


Nuclear arsenal breakdown

Estimated warheads

  • 7,650 total
  • 2,150 operational
  • Of those, it is estimated that about 500 warheads are assigned to land-based missiles, 1,150 are assigned to nuclear submarines and 300 are ready to be deployed on aircraft. Also, as part of NATO’s nuclear sharing program, an additional 200 B61 gravity bombs are deployed in five NATO countries: Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey.
  • 2,500 in storage (reserve)
  • 3,000 retired, awaiting dismantlement
  • Exact arsenal numbers are unknown. Estimates come from the Federation of American Scientists and are up to date as of December 18, 2012.

Confirmed delivery mechanisms


Sources: Federation of American Scientists, CIA World Factbook, Nuclear Threat Initiative, U.S. Census Bureau


Source: Agencies


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