Fortunately or unfortunately, only nine countries in the entire world have nuclear arsenal at their disposal. Nuclear weapon is a weapon of mass destruction that causes havoc, demolishes nature and kills millions of people. Nuclear power have some positive uses as well but most of the time, it is used as an aggressive or defensive weapon. Many treaties were signed to prevent its spread but they do not seem to perform as expected.
Only five of these (U.S., U.K., China, Russia and France) are members of Non-Proliferation Treaty and recognized as nuclear powers. Four other nations namely Pakistan, India, Israel and North Korea are known to have nuclear weapons but they are not members of NPT.
Security experts at Arms Control Association estimates that more than 90% of world’s nuclear weapons belong to Russia and United States. These countries are in a constant race to surpass each other’s military and nuclear capacity giving rise to militarization and weaponization.
World’s Most Powerful Nuclear-Armed States
9. North Korea
Total Warheads: 8
Year of First Test: 2006
Not much is known about North Korea nuclear program; there are lots of rumors. But it is strongly believed that North Korea is one the world’s nuclear-armed states. It conducted its first nuclear test in October 2006. Security experts estimates that North Korea has 8 nuclear warheads.
Total Warheads: 80
Year of First Test: unknown
Israel is small state in the world’s map but it is considered by some to be one of most powerful due to its relation with United States. It has deliberately remained ambiguous about its nuclear program but it is highly believed that Israel has over 80 warheads and capacity to produced up to 200.
Total Warheads: 110-120
Year of First Test: 1974
India is one of the emerging global markets with more than $53 billion in its defense budget. It has one of the largest and most powerful militaries in the world. It is estimated to possess 110-120 nuclear warheads.
Total Warheads: 120-130
Year of First Test: 1998
Pakistan is considered an emerging global power due to its friendly connections with China and United States. Its defense budget is lowest of all but its leaders have gone through significant struggle to keep its atomic nuclear program up-to-date because of its rivalry with neighboring state India. Pakistan performed its first successful nuclear test in 1998. Currently, it has 120-130 nuclear warheads in its arsenal.
5. United Kingdom
Total Warheads: 215
Year of First Test: 1952
United Kingdom became world’s nuclear-armed state in 1952 after conducting successful nuclear experiment named Hurricane. It has 215 warheads; 150 of these are deployed and remaining 65 stockpiled.
Total Warheads: 260
Year of First Test: 1964
China is considered one of the best potential candidate for next super power as its has a booming economy and strong relation with world leading states. It tested its first nuclear weapon in 1964. China is believed to posses 260 stockpiled warheads.
Total Warheads: 300
Year of First Test: 1960
France has 300 warheads all of which are operational and deployed. It conducted its nuclear test in 1960 and became fourth nuclear power. France has allocated a massive budget of $51 billion to its defense and military institutes to ensure that its nuclear arsenal stays up-to-date with modernized delivery systems available at hours of need.
2. United States of America
Total Warheads: 7100
Year of First Test: 1945
Unites States is the only superpower in the world, has world’s most powerful military and biggest military budget ($597 billion). It was the first country to develop and test nuclear weapons. It deployed its nuclear weapon during World War II on Hiroshima and Nagasaki which devastated the Japanese cities. It is estimated that U.S. has 7100 warheads in its nuclear arsenal of which 1481 are deployed, 4571 are stockpiled and other 2500 are awaiting dismantlement.
Total Warheads: 7,300
Year of First Test: 1949
Russia has one of the world’s most powerful militaries and intelligence agencies. It is considered a rival nation to U.S. mainly because of its history with United States. It was the second country to developed nuclear warheads. Russia conducted its first test in 1949 and since then, it has grown its nuclear power exponentially. Now it is ranked most powerful nuclear power as it has 7300 warheads in total, of which 1735 are deployed on ballistic missiles and aircraft carrier, 4500 are stockpiled and 2800 are awaiting dismantlement.