Many of us were brought up under the dark threat of nuclear war mushroom clouds. After the fall of the Soviet Union regime, many thought that the ominous possibility of an atomic war holocaust had passed. How wrong they all were, according to a new report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
The world’s nine nuclear armed states may have downsized their military arsenals, but made up for their loss by increasing the number of weapons on high operational alert. As a result, the world is increasingly within striking distance of nuclear weapons—either by accident or by design.
The nine countries collectively possessed an estimated 13,080 nuclear weapons at the start of 2021, a decrease from the 13, 400 that these states possessed at the beginning of 2020 since some of these weapons have gone into “retirement”.
Despite this overall decrease, the estimated number of nuclear weapons currently deployed with operational forces increased to 3,825, from 3,720 last year. 2,000 of these—nearly all of which belonged to Russia or the US—were kept in a state of high operational alert ready for a strike.