Globally around 30,000 nuclear weapons are held by various countries. More than one thousand five hundred of them ready to launch at a moment's notice, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. On average, each of them has a destructive power thirty times that of the Hiroshima bomb. Through atmospheric effects, a few hundred could destroy a major part of the world.
General Lee Butler, formerly responsible for all US Air Force and Navy strategic nuclear forces, describes nuclear weapons in the following way:
"Nuclear weapons give no quarter. Their effects transcend time and place, poisoning the Earth and deforming its inhabitants for generation upon generation. They leave us wholly without defence, expunge all hope for meaningful survival. They hold in their sway not just the fate of nations, but the very meaning of civilization."
Below is a list of which countries have nuclear weapons and how many. Numbers can vary widely between sources, where we found deiscrepencies we have taken the numbers from the Federation of Atomic Scientists
(FAS). However, at around 27,000 nuclear weapons world-wide, it's safe to say we have more than enough nukes to obliterate all life on Earth many times over.
has around 9,962 nuclear weapons with 5,735 classed as 'deliverable', on submarines, boats, planes and on land. Most weapons are located in Georgia, Nevada, New Mexico, Washington, Nevada, North Dakota, Wyoming, Montana, Missouri, Texas, Louisiana, South Dakota and Colorado. The US also has some 480 of these positioned in Europe: Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Turkey and the U.K..
The Russian Federation
has 16,000 nuclear weapons with 5,830 classed as deliverable: including strategic, tactical and bomber capability. These are all located in Russia in Aleysk, Dombraovskiy, Kartaly, Kozels, Tatschevo, Bershet, Kostroma, Krasnoyarsk, Drovyanaya, Irkustsk, Kansk, Nizhniy, Novosibirsk, Teykobo, Vypolzovo, Yoshkar-Ola and Yurya.
has 200 weapons all of which are deliverable located in Coulport and Faslane, to be delivered by its Trident submarines. The UK also hosts 110 US-owned tactical nuclear weapons at RAF Lakenheath. UK Trident submarines typically go to sea with 48 warheads-equivalent to 380 Hiroshima bombs. Late in 2006, British Prime Minister Tony Blair said he intends to build new nuclear weapons to replace the current Trident system, while joining the US programme to extend its life. The UK government has already started construction on facilities to build a new nuclear bomb.
has 348 nuclear weapons all deliverable, and four ballistic missile submarines, each with a load of 16 missiles with 6 warheads each. The stock is stored in Luxeuil, Istres, Landivisiau and L'Ile Longue.
has an estimated stockpile of around 200 nuclear weapons, with some 145 classed as deliverable.
has an estimated arsenal of 100 weapons all of which are considered deliverable. It comprises mostly non-strategic (tactical) weapons deliverable by several types of aircraft including F-4 Phantoms, F-16s and F-15Es. There is also concern that Israel has equipped its conventionally powered submarines with cruise missiles armed with nuclear warheads.
is estimated to have a stockpile of between 40 and 50 nuclear warheads. India has several types of aircraft that could be used to deliver nuclear weapons including the MiG-27 and the Jaguar. India, like its neighbour Pakistan, is also developing missiles with sufficient range and capacity to deliver a nuclear payload.
is estimated to have 50-60 nuclear weapons. It may also have produced a small quantity of weapons grade plutonium, sufficient for an estimated 3-5 nuclear weapons. These weapons are designed to be delivered by nuclear capable aircraft, but Pakistan is working hard on a long range missile that can deliver a nuclear payload as well.
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea
(North Korea) is estimated to have up to ten nuclear weapons. In early 2005, North Korea announced it had produced nuclear weapons.
Europe hosts 480 NATO US weapons.
Germany 150; the UK hosts 110; Italy 90. Turkey 90; the Netherlands 20; and Belgium 20.