By Guinness Madasamy, World BEYOND War, May 7, 2023
As we are well aware, Russia has threatened to use nuclear weapons to deter other countries from interfering with the invasion of Ukraine. There were also reports that President Putin had instructed to make preparations for them to be used in the event of an emergency. The threat posed by Russia’s nuclear weapons is not trivial.
The reason for the fear is that Russia has the largest number of nuclear weapons in the world. It is reported that nine countries possess a huge number of nuclear weapons. These countries have approximately 12,700 nuclear warheads. But Russia and the US have 90% of the world’s nuclear weapons. Of these, Russia has 5,977 nuclear weapons, according to figures released by the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), an organization that tracks nuclear weapons stockpiles. 1,500 of these are expired or awaiting destruction. Of the remaining 4,477, FAS believes 1,588 are deployed on strategic weapons (812 on ballistic missiles, 576 on submarine-launched ballistic missiles, and 200 on bomber bases). 977 strategic weapons and another 1,912 weapons are in reserve.
The FAS estimates that the US will have 5428 nuclear weapons. According to the FAS, 1,800 of the total 5,428 nuclear warheads are deployed in strategic weapons, 1,400 of which are deployed on ballistic missiles, 300 on strategic bomber bases in the US, and 100 on air bases in Europe. 2,000 are believed to be in storage.
Additionally, about 1,720 expired ones are kept in the custody of the Department of Energy and are awaiting destruction, according to reports.
After Russia and the US, China has the largest stockpile of nuclear weapons, with about 350 nuclear warheads. China has 280 land-launched ballistic missiles, 72 sea-launched ballistic missiles and 20 nuclear gravity bombs for their use. But there are also reports that China is rapidly expanding its nuclear arsenal. According to a 2021 report by the Pentagon, China plans to increase its nuclear arsenal to 700 by 2027 and 1,000 by 2030.
Along with the US, France is considered the most transparent country regarding nuclear weapons. France’s stockpile of about 300 nuclear weapons has been stagnant for the past decade. Former President François Hollande said in 2015 that France deployed nuclear weapons on submarine-launched ballistic missiles and ASMPA delivery systems.
France had about 540 nuclear weapons in 1991-1992. Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy said in 2008 that the current 300 nuclear weapons are half of their Cold War maximum.
Britain has about 225 nuclear weapons. About 120 of these are ready to be deployed on submarine-launched ballistic missiles. The FAS has estimated this number based on publicly available information and conversations with UK officials.
The exact size of the UK’s nuclear stockpile has not been released, but in 2010 the then Foreign Secretary William Hague said the total future stockpile should not exceed 225.
There is much speculation about Israel’s nuclear stockpile, but it is believed to have between 75 and 400 nuclear weapons. However, the most reliable estimate is less than a hundred. According to the FAS, there are 90 nuclear weapons. But Israel has never tested, publicly announced, or actually used a nuclear capability.
North Korea has made great progress in developing its nuclear arsenal. But the FAS is skeptical that North Korea has been able to develop a fully operational nuclear weapon that can be deployed on a long-range ballistic missile. North Korea has so far conducted six nuclear tests and tested ballistic missiles.
They estimate that North Korea may have produced enough material to build 40 to 50 nuclear weapons, and that it could build 10 to 20 weapons.
However, the FAS itself is clear that the exact number of nuclear weapons possessed by each country is a national secret and that the figures released may not be accurate.
It is also reported that the leaders of the two countries are concerned that the India-Pakistan political confrontation may turn into a nuclear war, which is frightening to the common man. India and Pakistan have 150 nuclear weapons each. By 2025, their number will be at least 250 each. Estimates say that if there is a war between them, 1.6 to 3.6 crore tons of soot (small carbon particles) will spread in the atmosphere.
Nuclear weapons have the ability to increase the temperature of the atmosphere. After days after their explosion, 20 to 25% less solar radiation hits the earth. As a result, there will be a 2 to 5 degree decrease in atmospheric temperature. 5 to 15% of marine life and 15 to 30% of land plants will die.
It can be confirmed that if both countries possess nuclear bombs with a strength of 15 kilotons compared to more than 100 tons used in Hiroshima, 50 to 150 million people will die if they use nuclear weapons.
Russia, the world’s first nuclear power, has built the world’s first floating nuclear power plant. The 140-meter long and 30-meter wide ship can generate 80 megawatts of electricity.
While the Arctic region in general is in an ecological crisis, the floating nuclear power plant in the region is becoming another threat. Popular scientists fear that if the nuclear power plant were to fail in any way, it would create a worse situation in the Arctic than Chernobyl.
And the Russian government does not accept that increased mining in the Arctic region with the help of the plant will further complicate the balance of the region.
The leaders do not accept that the approaches taken by India, Pakistan, the US and Russia in the nuclear field have a large negative impact on the world’s environment. The world leaders should come forward to correct their stands in this regard.
While the nations are striving or trying to become the nuclear powers, deaths due to starvation are on the rise, particularly in African countries.
Hence, I urge the world leaders to assemble the large number of food bombs, which will eliminate the hunger in your countries, instead of raising huge amounts for nuclear weapons. Also I request all the world leaders to sign the treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons to save our earth as we have only one earth.