SIPRI: The world is on the verge of a new nuclear arms race

SIPRI: The world is on the verge of a new nuclear arms race

In the aftermath of the Russian-led war in Ukraine, there are all signs that post-Cold War nuclear arsenal drawdowns are coming to an end. In the coming decades, nuclear arsenals will grow, according to a report prepared by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

According to scientists, all nine nuclear states – the US, Russia, UK, France, China, India , Pakistan, Israel and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) continue to modernize their nuclear arsenals.

The total number of nuclear weapons decreased slightly between January 2021 and January 2022. This was due to the dismantling of warheads retired from service several years ago. The number of warheads in the usable military arsenals of the two countries has remained relatively stable in 2021.

The number is likely to increase over the next decade, according to scientists, as the deployed strategic nuclear forces of both countries were within , established by the bilateral treaty on the reduction of nuclear weapons (Treaty on Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Arms of 2010).

– There are clear signs that the cuts that have characterized global nuclear arsenals since the end of the Cold War are over. All nuclear states are increasing or modernizing their arsenals, and most of them are tightening up nuclear rhetoric and the role of nuclear weapons in their military strategies,” said Wilfred Wang, director of the SIPRI weapons of mass destruction program.

He added that the current trend is “very worrying”. Russia and the US together possess more than 90 percent of all nuclear weapons. The remaining seven nuclear states are either developing or deploying new weapons systems or have announced their intention to do so. China is in the process of significantly expanding its nuclear arsenal, which satellite images show include the construction of more than 300 new missile silos.

Several additional nuclear warheads are expected to be handed over to operational forces in 2021 following the delivery of new mobile launchers and a submarine.

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