The US State Department on Tuesday revealed the number of nuclear weapons in its arsenal for the first time since 2018, after the government of former President Donald Trump declared the information confidential.
As of September 2020, the United States had 3,750 active and inactive nuclear warheads, according to a report by the country’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).
“Increasing transparency about states’ nuclear stockpiles is important to non-proliferation and disarmament efforts, including commitments under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and actions to deal with all types of nuclear weapons, including deployed and undeployed, strategic and not strategic,” the State Department said in a statement.
The number of 3,750 American nuclear warheads represents a reduction of about 88% in relation to the greatest amount stored by the country, at the end of 1967, at the height of the Cold War (31,255 warheads). Also, the US stockpile of nuclear weapons is about 83% smaller compared to the arsenal of 1989, when the fall of the Berlin Wall occurred, according to the NNSA.
The stock is also lower than reported the last time the numbers were released publicly, in 2018, when the report said the US had 3,822 warheads in 2017.
In 2020, the Trump administration informed the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) that it would not reveal the size of US nuclear stockpiles for the second time in a row. The FAS then asked the US government to release the numbers.
The release comes as US President Joe Biden seeks to resume arms control talks with Russia, which were stalled during the Trump administration.
According to a January 2021 survey by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) – which also includes “retired” warheads awaiting dismantling, a figure not counted in the US government report – the US has 5,550 warheads .
Also according to the Sipri report, other countries with nuclear weapons are Russia (6,255), China (350), France (290) and the United Kingdom (225), as well as India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea, which together have the estimated number of about 460 warheads.