The U.S. Nuclear Weapons Cost Study Project was completed in August 1998 and resulted in the book Atomic Audit: The Costs and Consequences of U.S. Nuclear Weapons Since 1940 edited by Stephen I. Schwartz. These project pages should be considered historical.


Notes: These figures show active nuclear weapons. They do not include inactive but intact weapons awaiting dismantlement. For the U.S., these warheads are estimated as follows: 241 (1988), 642 (1989), 752 (1990), 2,330 (1991), 5,261 (1992), 5,789 (1993), 4,916 (1994), 3,635 (1995), and 2,542 (1996). For the U.S.S.R./Russia, these are estimated as follows: 4,277 (1986), 4,141 (1987), 3,670 (1988), 3,183 (1989), 3,485 (1990), 5,394 (1991), 6,744 (1992), 8,215 (1993), 9,933 (1994), 11,385 (1995), and 12,278 (1996). It should be noted that there is a great deal of uncertainty as to the exact number of U.S.S.R./Russian non-strategic nuclear weapons. South Africa (not shown) secretly built six nuclear weapons between 1979 and 1989; these were subsequently dismantled between July 1990 and July 1991. Israel (not shown) is assumed to have at present approximately 100-150 nuclear weapons.

Sources: Robert S. Norris and Thomas B. Cochran, US and USSR/Russian Strategic Offensive Nuclear Forces, 1945-1996, Nuclear Weapons Databook Working Paper 97-1 (Washington, D.C.: Natural Resources Defense Council, January 1997); Robert S. Norris, “Nuclear Arsenals of the United States, Russia, Great Britain, France and China: A Status Report,” Presented at the 5th ISODARCO Beijing Seminar on Arms Control, 12-15 November 1996; Robert S. Norris, Andrew S. Burrows, and Richard W. Fieldhouse, Nuclear Weapons Databook Volume V: British, French, and Chinese Nuclear Weapons (Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1994); Robert S. Norris and William M. Arkin, “NRDC Nuclear Notebook (Global Nuclear Stockpiles, 1945-1997),” Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, November/December 1997, p. 67

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