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Just How Many Nukes Does the US Have?


Nuclear weapon test Romeo (11 megaton) on the Bikini Atoll on April 15, 1954

Just how many nuclear bombs does the United States of America have? For thirty years, the exact number of bombs the Pentagon stockpiles has been a secret (though people have pretty much guessed correctly).

Now, for the first time ever, that number has been officially released by the Obama administration: it's 5,113 warheads.

From the Federation of American Scientists:

Disclosing the size of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile puts pressure on other nuclear weapon states to reciprocate. Russia, whose arsenal is more difficult to track and assess, should respond by divulging comparable information about the size and status of its nuclear stockpile. There is simply no national security justification for Russia and the United States to continue to classify nuclear warhead stockpile inventories. The declassification of such data is necessary to achieve deep reductions in the arsenals of all the nuclear weapon states.

The 5,113 warheads in the stockpile do not account for all assembled nuclear warheads currently in the U.S. inventory. We estimate that there is an additional 4,500 retired warheads in storage awaiting dismantlement for a total inventory of approximately 9,600 warheads.

How does this compare to other nations? Here's what the Federation of American Scientists' Status of World Nuclear Forces page tells us:

Enough to destroy every civilization on Earth several times over, I think. One wonders whether the Russians still keep the rumored suitcase nukes in their embassies around the world.

Thanks Monica Amarelo!

I highly doubt that. It's probably the number of obsolete nukes. Robert Anton Wilson, in the eighties, played the world game, the start of which was a Bucky map of the earth. Red bingo chips were used to represent thermonuclear warheads, as their size mostly matched the yeild of a warhead. Wilson mentions that he started crying, when a Fuller map, was covered, three deep, oceans and landmass, over the entirety of the globe.

I'm no mathematician, but at a guess, I'd say Russia and America split the diff with nukes, half and half. And anyways, sure, yeah, USA is gonna come out and tell the rest of the world how muchtheir arsenal really is? Not gonna happen.

Lest we forget-this does not include weaponry used in Iraq and Afghanistan, which carry a radioactive payload, and thus qualify as mere ordinance, but are actually near nukes.
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Well I think all major parties realize how insane it is to have as many nuclear weapons as we have now on this planet. Even if you are as cynical as Brycemeister, it's important that Obama and Medvedev are publicly moving towards nuclear arms reduction.

Of course this is the relatively easy stuff. The real trick will be when/if the US and Russia get to within a few hundred nukes.
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I think this is the funniest line in the article: Russia, whose arsenal is more difficult to track and assess, should respond by divulging comparable information about the size and status of its nuclear stockpile.
i think before every battle, commanders should exchange
ammo and troop inventories with a full listing of working and non-working equipment, it would make war so much more FAIRER, wouldn't it?
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Even though 22,500 total nukes sounds like a lot, it really isn't nearly enough to "destroy every civilization on Earth several times over". Far from it. Estimates from the height of the cold war showed that an all out nuclear war would cause a three year long nuclear winter and kill at most 40% of the world's population through both direct and indirect effects. Back then there were over 30,000 active warheads. In order to completely wipe out civilization we would need more than 1 million warheads to be detonated. Even that many does not guarantee that humanity would be completely removed from the planet.
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@alwaysthere: you're right, that's not really enough nukes to completely destroy life. not at all. however, it's more than enough to destroy, if not all, then most of the large cities and other centers of civilization. so, no, humanity wouldn't be wiped out...but civilization could well be.
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I was alway struck by the incredible stupidity of the whole so called " cold war ". Even as a small kid in the 1960's I didn't really get it. Such an unbelievable waste of money and effort. But certainly many in the military industrial complex have gotten rich because of it. The normal average Joe is just a little pawn in the whole sceme of things. I as an American was always taught to hate the Russians. It is hard to hate a person that you do not even know. I do not hate the common Russian citizen whatsoever but I do hate the politians on both sides that bring is to the brink of armagaden. How is it their right to determine whether I live or die or the millions like me?
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it takes 5 american submarines to destroy the world. i believe we have enoguh nukes to destroy the world 500 times. (thats if you blow up every 10 square miles). and every other country added together could blow up the world 100 times. why i believe this? America is hte only country that can sustain and maintain their nukes. russia has to throw away nukes after a certain period of time. thats why their economy is so bad. same with other countries. we have been stockpiling since the cold war. russia couldnt even put a warhead on a missle, so im not concerned just yet. the suitcase nuke, totally possible if they can maintain it. im somewhat concerned. but even then, america has nukes and missiles and submarines pointing to just about every major country in the world. america also knows about secret areas on earth that could protect people in earthly desasters. This is why. 1 country pulls the trigger, nukes flying everywhere. allies getting nuked, and allies firing nukes. i believe america has more nukes, but they tell us what they want us to know. and what they want every country to know. maybe we have more than 5,113 nukes, and could be a propaganda thing.idk. and maybe russia has less, just to try to scare us. a bluff on their part. i believe we are coming to a global cotastrophe pretty soon. anybody over 40, could tell you that school these days and school back then was totally different. i believe schools these days teach what the government wants us to know. idk, thats just. and dont take my word for all of this, im just a 15 year old. go research it yourself. i could be totally wrong.
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22,500 nukes COULD wipeout human kind.
The Blast:
The rapid release of energy in an explosion creates a shock wave of overpressure. Very close to the centre of a nuclear explosion, overpressure is equivalent to several thousand pounds per square inch (psi). This is hundreds of times greater than the pressure in a pressure cooker.

The overpressure crushes objects. Human lungs are crushed at about 30 psi overpressure. Brick houses are destroyed at about 10-15 psi overpressure. The blast also generates high velocity winds which can turn humans or objects into missiles. At 15 - 20 psi the winds can fling a person at several hundred kilometres per hour. The pressure of the shock wave can also cause deafness. A nuclear explosion releases a huge amount of energy as light (utlraviolet, visible, and infrared), which can be seen from hundreds of miles away. The light is so intense that it can make sand explode, blind people many miles away, burn shadows into concrete, and ignite flammable materials at large distances. The thermal radiation also causes burns on human skin. The radius of the flash burns depends on the power of the weapon and the clearness of the atmosphere. An explosion above clouds can diminish the burns suffered from heat flash.

The heat from the explosion is so intense that nearly all materials at the center of the explosion (epicenter) are immediately vaporized. The thermal radiation also creates a fireball which rapidly expands outward, consuming oxygen and, combined with the blast effect, creating near total destruction for some distance from the epicenter.

Electromagnetic pulse:
A nuclear explosion also sends out an electromagnetic pulse, similar to the thermal pulse. Although the electromagnetic pulse does not directly harm humans, it can increse the devastation at the site of a nuclear explosion because it disables all electrical devices in its path, such as medical equipment and the microchips found in newer cars.

Direct nuclear radiation:
A nuclear explosion releases several forms of radiation. Both gamma rays and neutrons easily penetrate solid objects and can be deadly. Beta and alpha particles are generally less dangerous, having much shorter ranges - several meters and several centimeters, respectively. Alpha particles cannot penetrate human skin. If ingested, however, alpha particles will cause the most damage to the human body.

Fallout:
Fallout consists of large numbers of particles, from the earth, buildings and other ground objects, which are propelled upward in the blast and irradiated, mixing with the radioactive products of the explosion. Some of this material will fall back to earth within a few minutes, and radioactive fallout may continue its descent for about 24 hours. The rising and descending debris forms the mushroom cloud that follows a nuclear explosion.
Radioactive fallout may be the most dangerous effect of a nuclear explosion because the area of exposure to fallout is much wider than that of direct nuclear radiation.

Because there is no known way of neutralising a radioactive substance, apart from sending it through a nuclear reactor, radioactive products are dangerous until they have decayed to such an extent that they no longer emit significant amounts of radiation. This time is usually considered to be 10 times the half-life.

Radioactive fallout may be the most dangerous effect of a nuclear explosion because the area of exposure to fallout is much wider than that of direct nuclear radiation.

Because there is no known way of neutralising a radioactive substance, apart from sending it through a nuclear reactor, radioactive products are dangerous until they have decayed to such an extent that they no longer emit significant amounts of radiation. This time is usually considered to be 10 times the half-life.
Radioactive fallout may be the most dangerous effect of a nuclear explosion because the area of exposure to fallout is much wider than that of direct nuclear radiation.

Because there is no known way of neutralising a radioactive substance, apart from sending it through a nuclear reactor, radioactive products are dangerous until they have decayed to such an extent that they no longer emit significant amounts of radiation. This time is usually considered to be 10 times the half-life.
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Radioactive fallout may be the most dangerous effect of a nuclear explosion because the area of exposure to fallout is much wider than that of direct nuclear radiation.

Because there is no known way of neutralising a radioactive substance, apart from sending it through a nuclear reactor, radioactive products are dangerous until they have decayed to such an extent that they no longer emit significant amounts of radiation. This time is usually considered to be 10 times the half-life.

The nuclear weapon detonated in Hiroshima was about 12kt, i.e. the equivalent of 12,000 tons of TNT. The combined effects of blast, and radiation killed about 300,000 people. Current nuclear weapons range in size from 1 kt to over 1000 kt. Most are about 100kt, about 10 times the force of the Hiroshima bomb.
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Ive collected this information in my head.

so if i do my math correctly, the Earth has a surface area of 510,066,000 sq km. with a nuke radiation range of about 100 k. so 22,500 nukes x 100 km is 2,250,000 km. the Earth is about 80% water. so the remaining land together equals 102,013,200. in time, more nukes will be created. It will definately, destroy mankind.

Sorry about the nuke info. I didnt know much about the effects of a nuke. Pretty devastating.

Watch this video. imagine 22,500 of those, and let me mention it is the biggest bomb DROPPED. huge possibility that there are bigger, more devastating bombs. also to mention they had to half the megatones. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LxD44HO8dNQ
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just so u no i was watching the news on channel 10 and the interviewed the head of security for san diego..and asked him if they have found any nukes of mass destruction he said yes..and they have been found in other states..but we never here about it..i know he is getting fired because then he wanted to back track..ooops out of the bag...these damn terroists are no joke we need to get out all muslims to just be on the safe side...if not it will just be a matter of time.....
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