Global nuclear warhead stockpile growing, think thank warns

The world's nuclear powers have increased their arsenals of operational nuclear weapons over the past year, with China in the lead. The trend of nuclear disarmament over the past 30 years is coming to an end, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) says in a new report.

The number of operational nuclear weapons in the world rose by 86 to 9,576 last year. Nine countries possess nuclear weapons: the US, France, Pakistan, India, Russia, China, the UK, Israel and North Korea.

While the total number of nuclear weapons decreased from 12,710 in early 2022 to 12,512 in early 2023, most of those were old weapons about to be dismantled. The number of ready-to-use warheads increased, SIPRI said, a response to increased tension in the world.

China's arsenal grows

China, which regularly speaks out against nuclear threats, has increased its nuclear arsenal the most in the past year, from 350 to 410 warheads. India, Pakistan and North Korea have also scaled up, and Russia to a lesser extent. The other nuclear powers have not changed anything.

Russia has repeatedly threatened to use nuclear weapons over the past year to address the war in Ukraine and the perceived threat posed by NATO. Earlier this year, president Vladimir Putin decided to station some of its nuclear warheads in Belarus, something the West sees as a dangerous development. Russia and the US control almost 90 per cent of the world's nuclear weapons.



Get updates in your mailbox

By clicking "Subscribe" I confirm I have read and agree to the Privacy Policy.


Belga News Agency delivers dependable, rapid and high-quality information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from Belgium and abroad to all Belgian media. The information covers all sectors, from politics, economics and finance to social affairs, sports and culture, not to mention entertainment and lifestyle.

Every day, our journalists and press photographers produce hundreds of photos and news stories, dozens of online information items, plus audio and video bulletins, all in both national languages. Since the end of March 2022 English has been added as a language.

For public institutions, businesses and various organisations that need reliable information, Belga News Agency also offers a comprehensive range of corporate services to meet all their communication needs.


Arduinkaai 29 1000 Brussels