WHO HAS NUCLEAR WEAPONS AND HOW MANY DO THEY HAVE

Nuclear Weapons: Who Has What at a Glance

 

At the dawn of the nuclear age, the United States hoped to maintain a monopoly on its new weapon, but the secrets and the technology for making nuclear weapons soon spread. The United States conducted its first nuclear test explosion in July 1945 and dropped two atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945. Just four years later, the Soviet Union conducted its first nuclear test explosion. The United Kingdom (1952), France (1960), and China (1964) followed. Seeking to prevent the nuclear weapon ranks from expanding further, the United States and other like-minded states negotiated the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1968 and the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) in 1996.

India, Israel, and Pakistan never signed the NPT and possess nuclear arsenals. Iraq initiated a secret nuclear program under Saddam Hussein before the 1991 Persian Gulf War. North Korea announced its withdrawal from the NPT in January 2003 and has tested nuclear devices since that time. Iran and Libya have pursued secret nuclear activities in violation of the treaty’s terms, and Syria is suspected of having done the same. Still, nuclear nonproliferation successes outnumber failures and dire forecasts decades ago that the world would be home to dozens of states armed with nuclear weapons have not come to pass.

At the time the NPT was concluded, the nuclear stockpiles of both the United States and the Soviet Union/Russia numbered in the tens of thousands. Beginning in the 1970s, U.S. and Soviet/Russian leaders negotiated a series of bilateral arms control agreements and initiatives that limited, and later helped to reduce, the size of their nuclear arsenals. Today, the United States and Russia each deploy roughly 1,400 strategic warheads on several hundred bombers and missiles, and are modernizing their nuclear delivery systems.

China, India, and Pakistan are all pursuing new ballistic missile, cruise missile, and sea-based nuclear delivery systems. In addition, Pakistan has lowered the threshold for nuclear weapons use by developing tactical nuclear weapons capabilities to counter perceived Indian conventional military threats. North Korea continues its nuclear pursuits in violation of its earlier denuclearization pledges.

Nuclear-Weapon States:

The nuclear-weapon states (NWS) are the five states—China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, and the United States—officially recognized as possessing nuclear weapons by the NPT. The treaty legitimizes these states’ nuclear arsenals, but establishes they are not supposed to build and maintain such weapons in perpetuity. In 2000, the NWS committed themselves to an “unequivocal undertaking…to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals.” Because of the secretive nature with which most governments treat information about their nuclear arsenals, most of the figures below are best estimates of each nuclear-weapon state’s nuclear holdings, including both strategic warheads and lower-yield devices referred to as tactical weapons.

China

  • About 290 total warheads.

France

  • About 300 total warheads.

Russia

  • March 2019 New START declaration: 1,461 strategic warheads deployed on 524 intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and strategic bombers.
  • The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) estimates approximately 4,490 stockpiled warheads and 2,000 retired warheads for a total of roughly 6,490 warheads, as of early 2019.

United Kingdom

  • About 120 strategic warheads, of which no more than 40 are deployed at sea on a nuclear ballistic missile submarine at any given time. The United Kingdom possesses a total of four ballistic missile submarines.
  • Total stockpile is estimated up to 200 warheads.

United States:

  • March 2019 New START declaration: 1,365 strategic nuclear warheads deployed on 656 intercontinental ballistic missiles, submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and strategic bombers.
  • FAS estimates approximately 3,800 stockpiled warheads and 2,385 retired warheads for a total of 6,185 warheads as of early 2019.

Non-NPT Nuclear Weapons Possessors:

  • India, Israel, and Pakistan never joined the NPT and are known to possess nuclear weapons.
  • India first tested a nuclear explosive device in 1974. That test spurred Pakistan to ramp up work on its secret nuclear weapons program.
  • India and Pakistan both publicly demonstrated their nuclear weapon capabilities with a round of tit-for-tat nuclear tests in May 1998.
  • Israel has not publicly conducted a nuclear test, does not admit or deny having nuclear weapons, and states that it will not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons in the Middle East. Nevertheless, Israel is universally believed to possess nuclear arms, although it is unclear exactly how many.

The following arsenal estimates are based on the amount of fissile material—highly enriched uranium and plutonium—that each of the states is estimated to have produced. Fissile material is the key element for making nuclear weapons. India and Israel are believed to use plutonium in their weapons, while Pakistan is thought to use highly enriched uranium.

IndiaBetween 130-140 nuclear warheads.
IsraelAn estimated 80-90 nuclear warheads, with fissile material for up to 200.
PakistanBetween 150-160 nuclear warheads.


States of Immediate Proliferation Concern:

Prior to the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Iran pursued a uranium-enrichment program and other projects that provided it with the capability to produce bomb-grade fissile material and develop nuclear weapons, if it chose to do so. Iran’s uranium enrichment program continues, but it is restricted and monitored by the nuclear deal. North Korea announced its withdrawal from the NPT in 2003 and tested nuclear devices and nuclear-capable ballistic missiles. Uncertainty persists about how many nuclear devices North Korea has assembled. In 2007, Israel bombed a site in Syria that was widely assessed to be a nuclear reactor being constructed with North Korea’s assistance. Syria has refused to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency’s attempts to investigate.

Iran:

  • No known weapons or sufficient fissile material stockpiles to build weapons.
  • The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the institution charged with verifying that states are not illicitly building nuclear weapons, concluded in 2003 that Iran had undertaken covert nuclear activities to establish the capacity to indigenously produce fissile material.
  • July 2015: Iran and six world powers negotiated a long-term agreement to verify and significantly reduce Iran’s capacity to produce material for nuclear weapons.
  • As part of this agreement, the IAEA and Iran concluded an investigation into Iran’s past nuclear weapons-related activities. The agency concluded that Iran had an organized program to pursue nuclear weapons prior to 2003. Some of these activities continued through 2009, but there were no indications of weaponization activities taking place after that date.

North Korea:

  • Estimated as of June 2019 to have approximately 20-30 warheads and the fissile material for 30-60 nuclear weapons.
  • While there is a high degree of uncertainty surrounding North Korea’s fissile material stockpile and production, particularly on the uranium enrichment side, North Korea is estimated to have 20-40 kilograms of plutonium and 250-500 kilograms of highly enriched uranium. The estimated annual production of fissile material is enough for 6-7 weapons.
  • North Korea operates its 5-megawatt heavy-water graphite-moderated reactor used to extract plutonium in the past for nuclear warheads on an intermittent basis since August 2013. There has also been intermittent activity at North Korea’s reprocessing facility since 2016, indicating that Pyongyang has likely separated plutonium from the reactor’s spent fuel.
  • North Korea unveiled a centrifuge facility in 2010. It is likely that Pyongyang is using the facility to produce highly-enriched uranium for weapons. U.S. intelligence suggests that there are several additional centrifuge facilities in North Korea.
  • By 2020, experts estimate that North Korea could have anywhere between 20-100 nuclear warheads based on the rate of its stockpile growth and technological improvements.

Syria:

  • September 2007: Israel conducted an airstrike on what U.S. officials alleged was the construction site of a nuclear research reactor similar to North Korea’s Yongbyon reactor.
  • The extent of Syrian-North Korean nuclear cooperation is unclear, but is believed to have begun in 1997.
  • Investigations into U.S. claims uncovered traces of undeclared man-made uranium particles at both the site of the destroyed facility and Syria’s declared research reactor.
  • Syria has not adequately cooperated with the IAEA to clarify the nature of the destroyed facility and procurement efforts that could be related to a nuclear program.

States That Had Nuclear Weapons or Nuclear Weapons Programs at One Time:

  • Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine inherited nuclear weapons following the Soviet Union’s 1991 collapse, but returned them to Russia and joined the NPT as non-nuclear-weapon states.
  • South Africa secretly developed but subsequently dismantled its small number of nuclear warheads and also joined the NPT in 1991.
  • Iraq had an active nuclear weapons program prior to the 1991 Persian Gulf War, but was forced to verifiably dismantle it under the supervision of UN inspectors. The U.S.-led March 2003 invasion of Iraq and subsequent capture of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein definitively ended his regime’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.
  • Libya voluntarily renounced its secret nuclear weapons efforts in December 2003.
  • Argentina, Brazil, South Korea, and Taiwan also shelved nuclear weapons programs.

Sources: Arms Control Association, Federation of American Scientists, International Panel on Fissile Materials, U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of State and Stockholm International Peace Research Institute

HOW PAPER MONEY IS MADE

The production of modern U.S. paper money is a complex procedure involving highly trained and skilled craftspeople, specialized equipment, and a combination of time-honored printing techniques merged with sophisticated, cutting edge technology. Recent new designs for denominations of $5-$100 use similar portraits and historical images to previous notes, but include subtle background colors to make the bills more difficult to counterfeit. Security features include a portrait watermark visible when held up to the light, two numeric watermarks on $5 notes, enhanced security thread that glows under an ultraviolet light, micro printing, color-shifting ink that changes color when the note is tilted, and a 3‑D security ribbon on the new $100 bills.

7 basic steps to making paper money

  1. Special paper and ink
  2. Offset printing of the subtle background colors
  3. Intaglio printing to add the portraits, vignettes, numerals and lettering for each unique denomination
  4. Inspection
  5. Overprinting of serial numbers and seals
  6. Cutting and trimming
  7. Shrink-wrapping and delivery to the Federal Reserve System

What is Paper Money Made Out Of

Paper and Ink

While most paper used for such items as newspapers and books is primarily made of wood pulp, the currency paper made specifically for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) is composed of 75% cotton and 25% linen – with the security thread and watermark built in. All U.S. paper money features green ink on the backs, while the faces use black ink, color-shifting ink in the lower right corner of $10-$100 notes, and metallic ink for the freedom icons on $10, $20 and $50 bills. The “bell in the inkwell” freedom icon on $100 notes uses color-shifting ink.

Offset Printing

For notes of $5 and above with subtle background colors, offset printing is the first stage of production. The colored background design is duplicated on a film negative, and is transferred to a thin steel printing plate with light-sensitive coating through exposure to ultraviolet light. This is called “burning a plate.” The background colors are then printed on the BEP’s Simultan presses, which are state-of-the-art, high-speed rotary presses. Ink is transferred from the printing plates to rubber “blanket” cylinders, which then transfer the ink to the paper as it passes through the blankets. The printed sheets are dried for 72 hours before continuing.

Intaglio Printing

Intaglio printing is used for the portraits, vignettes, scrollwork, numerals and lettering unique to each denomination. From an Italian word meaning to cut or engrave, “intaglio” refers to the design being skillfully “carved” into steel dies with sharp tools and acids. Some engravers specialize in portraits and vignettes, while others are experts in lettering and script. The images are then combined and transferred to a printing plate through the process of siderography. Engraved plates are mounted on the press and covered with ink. A wiper removes the excess ink, leaving ink only in the recessed image area. Paper is laid atop the plate, and when pressed together, ink from the recessed areas of the plate is pulled onto the paper to create the finished image.

The green engraving on the back of U.S. currency is printed on high-speed, sheet-fed rotary intaglio presses. Back-printed sheets require 72 hours to dry and cure before moving to the face intaglio press, where special cut-out ink rollers transfer different inks to specific portions of the engraved designs. Black ink is used for the border, portrait and Treasury signatures, color-shifting ink for lower right portions of $10 and higher-denomination notes, metallic ink for freedom icons on $10, $20 and $50 bills, and color-shifting ink for the freedom icon on $100 notes.

[photo: Modern serial number] 

The letters on a modern serial number from the color series represent the series year, the Federal Reserve Bank to which the note was issued, and a counting device.

 

[photo: Star Note serial number] 

The star indicates this sheet replaces one found defective.

 

[photo: An uncut sheet of 32 $1 bills] 

An uncut sheet of 32 $1 bills.

UOCIS Inspection System

The BEP’s Upgraded Offline Currency Inspection System (UOCIS) integrates computers, cameras and sophisticated software to thoroughly analyze and evaluate untrimmed printed sheets. This system ensures proper color registration and ink density, and within 3/10 of a second determines whether a sheet is acceptable or must be rejected. The same equipment trims and cuts the 32-subject sheets in half to create two 16-subject sheets. The sheets then move to the final printing stage accomplished by the BEP’s Currency Overprinting Processing Equipment and Packaging (COPE-Pak).

Overprinting

COPE-Pak adds the two serial numbers, black Federal Reserve seal, green Treasury seal, and Federal Reserve identification numbers. Modern serial numbers consist of two prefix letters, eight numerals, and one suffix letter. The first prefix number indicates the series (for example, Series 1999 is designated by the letter B). The second prefix letter indicates the Federal Reserve Bank to which the note was issued. The suffix letter changes every 99,999,999 notes (DG99999999A is followed by DG00000001B).

As sheets pass through the process, they are inspected by the COPE Vision Inspection System (CVIS). If a sheet is identified as defective, it is replaced with a “star” sheet. Serial numbers of notes on star sheets are identical to the notes they replaced, except that a star appears after the serial number in place of the suffix number.

Completed currency sheets are stacked and pass through two guillotine cutters. The first horizontal cut leaves the notes in pairs, while the second vertical cut produces individual finished notes. Bricks of 4,000 notes are shrink-wrapped for delivery to the Federal Reserve System