How many nukes are in the world and what could they destroy?
Tensions over nuclear weapons have been raised further after North Korea claimed to have successfully test-launched an intercontinental ballistic missile. This latest move comes amid increasing concern over North Korea's military capabilities, with the new US administration upping its rhetoric in response. While the Pyongyang regime increases the frequency with which it is conducting missile tests, Donald Trump's defence secretary Jim 'Mad Dog' Mattis has warned North Korea of an "effective and overwhelming" response if Pyongyang used nuclear weapons.Elsewhere, rhetoric hints at a return of the expansion of nuclear arsenals across the world. In December, Russian President Vladimir Putin told a meeting of defence chiefs that strengthening nuclear capability should be a key objective for 2017. Donald Trump then took to Twitter to respond, vowing to do the same.
Such rhetoric has led to concerns about the world's nuclear capacity and the unpredictability of those in charge of the warheads.
It seems the world is a long way from "coming to its senses" - with millions of kilotons already in military service around the world.Between them, the world's nuclear-armed states have around 15,000 warheads - the majority of which belong to the US and Russia.It is estimated that just under 10,000 of these are in military service, with the rest awaiting dismantlement, according to the Arms Control Association.
Which countries have nuclear weapons?
There are five nuclear-weapon states in the world: China, France, Russia, United Kingdom and the United States. These are officially recognised as possessing such weapons by the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.This treaty acknowledges and legitimises their arsenals, but they are not supposed to build or maintain them forever. Indeed, they have committed to eliminate them.
There are also four other countries that have nuclear weapons: Pakistan, India, Israel and North Korea. These countries didn't sign the Treaty, and together possess an estimated 340 nuclear weapons.But it's Russia and the US that have by far the most in the world - dominating all other countries by collectively sharing 88 per cent of the world's arsenal of stockpiled nukes. This figure increases to 93 per cent when we consider retired nukes.