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Appendix 8A. World nuclear forces, 2008


I. Introduction

II. US nuclear forces

III. Russian nuclear forces

IV. British nuclear forces

V. French nuclear forces

VI. Chinese nuclear forces

VII. Indian nuclear forces

VIII. Pakistani nuclear forces

IX. Israeli nuclear forces

X. North Korea’s military nuclear capabilities


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At the beginning of 2008 eight nuclear weapon states possessed almost 10 200 operational nuclear weapons. Several thousand of these nuclear weapons are kept on high alert, ready to be launched within minutes. If all nuclear warheads are counted—operational warheads, spares, those in both active and inactive storage, and intact warheads scheduled for later dismantlement, these states together possess a total of more than 25 000 warheads.


The five states defined by the 1968 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) as nuclear weapon states—China, France, Russia, the UK and the USA—were all in the process of deploying new nuclear weapons or had announced their intentions to do so in 2007. India and Pakistan, which with Israel are de facto nuclear weapon states outside the NPT, continued to develop new missile systems capable of delivering nuclear weapons. North Korea claimed in 2005 that it had developed nuclear weapons and conducted a nuclear test in 2006, but there is no public information to verify that North Korea has weaponized its nuclear capability.



Shannon N. Kile (United States) is a Senior Researcher with the SIPRI Non-proliferation and Export Controls Project.


Vitaly Fedchenko (Russia) is a Researcher with the SIPRI Non-proliferation and Export Controls Project.


Hans M. Kristensen (Denmark) is Director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), Washington, DC.

Shannon N. Kile and Vitaly Fedchenko