There are still approximately 16,000 nuclear weapons in the arsenals of nine countries today, with more than 90 percent of these in the possession of the United States and Russia. Some 1,800 nuclear weapons remain on hair-trigger alert, ready to be fired within moments of an order to do so.
The United States plans to spend $1 trillion on modernizing its nuclear arsenal.
The 1968 Non-Proliferation Treaty obligates its parties, including the United States, to engage in negotiations in good faith for a cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and for nuclear disarmament. In a 1996 advisory opinion, the International Court of Justice interpreted this obligation as follows: "There exists an obligation to pursue in good faith and bring to a conclusion negotiations leading to nuclear disarmament in all its aspects under strict and effective international control."
Because these negotiations have yet to take place, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, has brought lawsuits against the nine nuclear-armed countries at the International Court of Justice and in US federal court, seeking court orders for these countries to fulfill their obligations under international law.