Nuclear forces reduced while modernizations continue, says SIPRI

sipri(Stockholm, 16 June 2014) Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) today launches its annual nuclear forces data, which assesses the current trends and developments in world nuclear arsenals. The data shows that while the overall number of nuclear weapons in the world continues to decline, none of the nuclear weapon-possessing states are prepared to give up their nuclear arsenals for the foreseeable future.

At the start of 2014 nine states—the United States, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea—possessed approximately 4000 operational nuclear weapons. If all nuclear warheads are counted, these states together possessed a total of approximately 16 300 nuclear weapons (see table 1) compared to 17 270 in early 2013.

Reductions slow and modernizations continue

Over the past five years there has been a steady decline in the overall number of nuclear warheads in the world (see table 2). The decrease is due mainly to Russia and the USA—which together still account for more than 93 per cent of all nuclear weapons—further reducing their inventories of strategic nuclear weapons under the terms of the Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms (New START).

At the same time, all five legally recognized nuclear weapon states—China, France, Russia, the UK and the USA—are either deploying new nuclear weapon delivery systems or have announced programmes to do so. India and Pakistan continue to develop new systems capable of delivering nuclear weapons and are expanding their capacities to produce fissile material for military purposes.

There is an emerging consensus in the expert community that North Korea has produced a small number of nuclear weapons, as distinct from rudimentary nuclear explosive devices.

‘Once again this year, the nuclear weapon-possessing states took little action to indicate a genuine willingness to work toward complete dismantlement of their nuclear arsenals. The long term modernization programmes under way in these states suggest their views that nuclear weapons will remain deeply embedded elements of their strategic calculus’, say SIPRI Researchers Shannon Kile and Phillip Patton Schell.

Table 1. World nuclear forces, 2014

Year of first
nuclear test
USA 2150 5550 7300 1945
Russia 1800 6700 8000 1949
UK 160 65 225 1952
France 290 10 300 1960
China 250 250 1964
India 90–110 90–110 1974
Pakistan 100–120 100–120 1998
Israel 80 80 . .
North Korea 6–8 2006
Total 4400 12 865 16 300

Source: SIPRI Yearbook 2014
* ‘Deployed’ means warheads placed on missiles or located on bases with operational forces.
All estimates are approximate and are as of January 2014.

Table 2. World nuclear forces, 2010–14

Country* 2010 2011 2012  2013 2014
USA 9600 8500 8000 7700 7300
Russia 12 000
11 000
10 000
8500 8000
UK 225 225 225 225 225
France 300 300 300 300 300
China  240 240 240 250 250
India  60–80 80–100 80–100 90–110 90–110
Pakistan  70–90 90–110 90–110 100–120 100–120
Israel  80 80 80 80 80
Total 22 600
20 530 19 000 17 270
16 300

Source: SIPRI Yearbook 2014
* Based on public information about North Korea’s past plutonium production activities, it is estimated here that North Korea has built 6–8 nuclear weapons.

The SIPRI Yearbook is a compendium of cutting-edge information and analysis on developments in armaments, disarmament and international security. Three major Yearbook data sets were pre-launched earlier in 2014: the SIPRI Top 100 arms-producing companies (31 January), international arms transfers (17 March) and world military expenditure data (14 April). See the earlier releases at The SIPRI Yearbook is published by Oxford University Press. Learn more at

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)
SIPRI is an independent international institute dedicated to research into conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament. Established in 1966, SIPRI provides data, analysis and recommendations, based on open sources, to policymakers, researchers, media and the interested public. SIPRI is regularly ranked among the most respected think tanks worldwide.