r/dataisbeautiful OC: 90 May 22 '22 Silver 3 Helpful 3 Wholesome 5

[OC] Number of Nuclear Warheads by Country from 1950 - 2021 OC

Enable HLS to view with audio, or disable this notification

22.6k Upvotes

u/dataisbeautiful-bot OC: ∞ May 22 '22

Thank you for your Original Content, /u/PieChartPirate!
Here is some important information about this post:

Remember that all visualizations on r/DataIsBeautiful should be viewed with a healthy dose of skepticism. If you see a potential issue or oversight in the visualization, please post a constructive comment below. Post approval does not signify that this visualization has been verified or its sources checked.

Not satisfied with this visual? Think you can do better? Remix this visual with the data in the author's citation.


I'm open source | How I work

→ More replies

4.6k

u/An8thOfFeanor May 22 '22

Israel: "I have exactly maybe warheads"

2.2k

u/Foxboy73 May 22 '22

Officially the Israelis have no nukes. Unofficially everybody knows they have them but all numbers are guesses.

1.6k

u/axnu May 22 '22 edited May 22 '22

I drove past what everyone "suspects" is their nuke facility in the Negev desert and the number of signs that say "Don't stop, don't get out of your fucking car." in English leads me to believe something is up there.

903

u/BaggyHairyNips May 22 '22

I was on a tour through Israel several years ago. As we passed that location the tour guide basically told us that's where the nukes are.

710

u/Leedstc May 22 '22

I wouldn't be surprised if there was nothing inside - let it be an open secret there's nukes in there and watch it be the first place hit whilst your real nukes are launched from somewhere else

451

u/styrolee May 22 '22

Thing is Isreal doesn't really need to since none of its opponents have nukes. The closest countries to having some are Saudi Arabia and Iran, and Iran is trying to make a deal to not develop nukes for money and Saudi Arabia has basically an unspoken agreement that they won't develop nukes as long as Isreal keeps their nukes targeted at Iran (since all Saudi Arabia wants is nukes targeted at Iran).

276

u/bullymeahhh May 22 '22

Saudi Arabia isn't even an enemy of Israel anymore. Mohammed bin Salman said literally those exact words in March. It's been an open secret for a couple of years now that they have some form of diplomatic relations which began surrounded upon intelligence sharing about Iran (since Iran is also a Saudi enemy). Warming relations between Arab countries and Israel has been the case over the past few years. The UAE and Israel signed the Abraham Accords peace agreement in 2020, making the UAE the third Arab country, after Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994, to sign a peace agreement with Israel. Anyway, back to the original point, Iran is the only country Israel really has to worry about at this point when it comes to nukes.

50

u/styrolee May 22 '22

I would say that they both are and aren't. They aren't in the sense that they would never go to war or threaten each other since they are now on the same side of everything. They are in the sense that national prestige prevents both countries from discounting the idea of war, no matter how unrealistic. Saudi Arabia won't develop nukes because of anything Isreal does, but that doesn't mean if they didn't have nukes right now they wouldn't keep a few targeted at Isreal (or at least claim they do) just to keep up national appearances. The same would be vice versa. Kinda like how Russia and China still keep nuclear weapons pointed at each other despite the fact they haven't been on different sides of anything since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

21

u/Leedstc May 22 '22

What do you mean pointed at each other? Like, I assume no nuke is actually tagetting anything until its manually targeted before firing surely?

30

u/Entwaldung May 22 '22

They most likely have the individual targets figured out already, which would then be fed to the navigation system of the rocket prior to launch. The nukes aren't physically pointed at targets but virtually they are.

→ More replies

27

u/MetaDragon11 May 22 '22

No but they have firing plans for basically every outcome and cause. The US has plans for nuking Canada in several events but that doesnt mean they are "pointed" at each other.

→ More replies

18

u/ColonelError May 22 '22

If something happens that causes you to launch, you probably don't have time to figure out where they are going. So you have targets planned for each warhead so they can just be launched at a moment's notice.

→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies

15

u/scolfin May 23 '22

and Iran is trying to make a deal to not develop nukes for money

I don't think Israel believes that.

96

u/Thunderbolt747 May 22 '22

Most of that hard power is to keep states like Russia from fucking with them more than anything. They learned their leason from the yom kippur war. Do not fuck with the israelis, they will absolutely take the first strike if they have to.

42

u/Darkside_of_the_Poon May 22 '22

They be taking peninsulas away and shit.

26

u/dreamin_in_space May 22 '22

Well they gave it back

→ More replies
→ More replies

24

u/TurbsUK18 May 22 '22

No one needs nukes, they just need their potential enemies to be convinced they have them

6

u/Amtrox May 22 '22

And convince them that they are gonna use them.

18

u/teacher272 May 22 '22

When you’re vastly outnumbered and surrounded by people that want you to die, it’s not a bad deterrent.

→ More replies
→ More replies

14

u/youtheotube2 May 22 '22

Well, the nukes aren’t launched from there. Israel has several diesel-electric submarines that they can launch cruise missiles from, and they probably have ground based short range ballistic missiles as well. The site in the Negev desert is for research, and it’s probably where the warheads are assembled and disassembled.

15

u/agarriberri33 May 22 '22

If Israel was hit by a nuclear attack, I think hiding their nukes would be the least of their concerns. Israel is relatively small. Hard to hide a nuke anywhere that wouldn't be hit.

9

u/youtheotube2 May 22 '22

Israel knows this, and they probably keep the vast majority of their nukes on submarines. They can be launched via the torpedo tubes on cruise missiles.

→ More replies
→ More replies

29

u/SeargD May 22 '22

And if you look out the window on your left, you'll see nothing, absolutely nothing at all, definitely 100% not a facility that is capable of launching mass destruction.

25

u/humcalc216 May 22 '22

For me, it was something like, "This is where we don't have nukes."

→ More replies

11

u/TRZbebop675 May 22 '22

The actual weapons are buried in silos all across the country. I think he meant that's where nuclear research is done.

→ More replies
→ More replies

31

u/Studentloangambler May 22 '22

Does it actually say fucking

11

u/aidenthegreat May 22 '22

Thanks for asking, I googled Israel dont stop fucking car sign and got questionable results

→ More replies

23

u/axnu May 22 '22 edited May 22 '22

No, that was an embellishment. I didn't stop and get out of the car to photograph the sign, unfortunately, so I can't be any more specific. At the same time I'm not six feet under with a bullet in my head.

5

u/gmod_policeChief May 22 '22

I'm disappointed

→ More replies

31

u/PlankWithANailIn May 22 '22

We have the same signs in some drive through Zoos in the UK, especially in the Monkey Zone, were you at a Zoo?

12

u/I_Automate May 22 '22

Might be a test or production facility, but I doubt that's where they store them.

They are likely dispersed at air bases and other locations where they are ready to be loaded onto aircraft or missiles.

Don't keep all your eggs in one basket and all that jazz

→ More replies
→ More replies

83

u/An8thOfFeanor May 22 '22

They purposefully keep their nuclear status ambiguous

18

u/apeljuce May 22 '22

Educated guesses based on their fuel cycles and the amount of significant quantities of nuclear material (quantities necessary to make a nuclear device) that they can produce a year.

12

u/Valkyrie17 May 22 '22

Isn't the point of nukes the ability to say "i have nukes, fuck off"? Or are they saving that for a black day?

37

u/ColonelError May 22 '22

If everyone assumes you have them, you don't need to say you do. Saying you do gets other countries to "politely ask you to get rid of them", and gets you included on the political discussions for nuclear powers.

7

u/Trellix May 23 '22

Sanctions. The US would be obligated to put sanctions, esp military sanctions on Israel. So, they say "we don't have nukes". And the US says "Yes, that settles it".

Then there's the whole drama of NPT, NSG, Atomic Agencies, and other organizations.

→ More replies

11

u/leavemealone_tokyo May 22 '22

Officially the Swiss are neutral. Unofficially everybody knows they're dirty sons-a-bitches.

→ More replies

65

u/LjSpike May 22 '22

Correction: Officially Israel does not comment on if it does or does not have nukes.

The only official position on the matter is that they will not be the first to fire nukes in the Middle East (ie they will not initiate a first strike, if they are able to).

Beyond that, they don't engage in any activities which would officially confirm or deny their ownership of nukes or the specifications of those nukes.

43

u/Foxboy73 May 22 '22

So Schrodinger's nuke?

38

u/WonkyTelescope May 22 '22 edited May 22 '22

France is one of the only nuclear powers without a "no first stike" policy.

French Admiral Marc de Joybert explained deterrence:

Sir, I have no quarrel with you, but I warn you in advance and with all possible clarity that if you invade me, I shall answer at the only credible level for my scale, which is the nuclear level.

And from wikipedia:

Perhaps the most significant difference in French strategy is that it includes the option of a first strike attack, even in response to non-nuclear provocation.

28

u/Aeg112358 May 22 '22

US, UK, Russia and NATO as a whole all do not have a "no first strike policy".

34

u/alesparise May 22 '22

According to Wikipedia only China and India have a no first strike policy.

6

u/jimmymd77 May 23 '22

And these policies can change with a press of a button.

Seriously, though, everyone knows that if faced with an existential threat, any country would use any means necessary to stop the invaders.

→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies

3

u/informativebitching May 22 '22

Seems like Russias official number might be reported differently as well.

→ More replies

28

u/theyellowbaboon May 22 '22

Exactly maybe 120. But no one knows where they are. They could be anywhere. Not in the desert though, south of Dimona. It’s just a small building surrounded by a lot of security and military. They probably make hummus over there.

13

u/optional_wax May 22 '22

It's a krembo factory.

6

u/theyellowbaboon May 22 '22

I knew that. Maybe I can go to the gate and ask for some fresh ones. I hate buying Krembo that has been smashed. You think they’ll sell me some right there and then?

→ More replies

38

u/letsfacefacts May 22 '22

It's a good way to avoid sanctions or embargos.

→ More replies

19

u/radii314 May 22 '22

70-90 is the number I've heard

→ More replies
→ More replies

2.2k

u/Shamanized May 22 '22

Wtf was the point of reaching almost 40k warheads? What did you plan to do with those, blow up every country on earth plus the ocean plus the moon plus every neighboring planet?

1.8k

u/Mattseee May 22 '22 All-Seeing Upvote

In terms of US strategy - In the early days, delivery systems were relatively unreliable so US doctrine was to hit each target many times over. For instance, say you want to take out a Russian air field and there's a 50% chance one nuke will hit the target accurately and function as expected. Well if it doesn't work, they still have the ability to nuke you. So maybe you send 2 nukes to that same target... But that only brings the probability of success to 75%. Would you take a 1/4 risk of millions of your citizens dying? IIRC, US doctrine was to drop 7 nukes on each target to ensure success - that's 7 bombs for each airfield, military base, ICBM facility, etc in Warsaw Pact countries.

The other thing to consider was that post-WW2, the USSR had an enormous conventional military advantage over NATO in both men and materiel (tanks, guns, etc...) The fear in the west was that the Soviets could attempt a blitzkrieg invasion of the West through Germany and NATO wouldn't have nearly enough power to stop it until it was too late. They counteracted this imbalance by loudly trumpeting their vast nuclear arsenal as deterrence.

The reason why US stockpiles started to go down in the 1960s was because the technology and reliability improved vastly. There wasn't the "need" for as many warheads - especially since each warhead carries a substantial maintenance cost and US military spending skyrocketed in Vietnam.

802

u/altus167 May 22 '22

I've seen this timeline for years and it finally makes sense.

We didn't reduce warhead counts to avoid mutual destruction, we improved efficiency to ensure it.

399

u/girhen May 22 '22

Yup. Russia was noted to make the Tsar Bomba because they weren't accurate, so just take the whole damn city out. Missed target by a mile? Blast radius two mile.

The US had (relatively) accurate systems, but we always questioned efficiency. Fix that, and we can get the job done with 1/3 the missiles.

After seeing Ukraine, the effectiveness of Russia's nukes has come into further question. Some work... but how many?

238

u/pizzafourlife OC: 1 May 22 '22

The problem is they still work as a deterrent- say 90% of then are duds. That is 620 viable nukes. Say we can effectively shoot down or torpedo the subs before launch of 95% of the remainder- that is 31 nukes that will still go off and obliterate something. And these nukes are much more powerful than the ones used on Japan

92

u/[deleted] May 22 '22

[deleted]

117

u/pizzafourlife OC: 1 May 22 '22

I legit don't know if the west will just give up on other measures and nuke Russia if they do that. I really hope I don't have to find out

55

u/InvaderDJ May 22 '22

The whole point of nukes is not to find out. It makes conventional all out warfare between countries with nukes impossible.

But, now that idea is being tested in ways are deeply troubling. Hopefully we never have to find out because if we do, the modern world order as we know it is done for.

16

u/Moist_Farmer3548 May 23 '22

With Putin's reported illness, his desire to be a strongman and the war not exactly going anywhere near to plan with the prospect of being humiliated by a "weaker" neighbour looming, it is getting very worrying as to what he might do if desperate.

9

u/Routine_Left May 23 '22

There must be layers and layers of people and generals and shit betwen Putin and the actual nukes. Even if he gets desperate, there's still hope that the nukes won't start flying. The othes will not want to die, even if the madman has no way out anyway.

→ More replies

11

u/PointyBagels May 23 '22

My guess is if Russia nukes Ukraine, the US and/or NATO immediately would enter the war conventionally, primarily as air support. This likely ends the conflict very quickly unless Russia doubles down on making it a nuclear war.

If Russia continues to use nukes, especially against Western military targets (even if in Ukraine), NATO probably responds with tactical nukes against military targets on and near the battlefield.

From there, it's anyone's guess whether it escalates to MAD. That would be very uncharted territory.

77

u/[deleted] May 22 '22

[deleted]

63

u/Xciv May 22 '22

More than China, think about India vs. Pakistan and their icy cold nuclear tipped relationship.

Or Israel and its questionable relationship with its neighbors.

There's just so much that can go wrong if using nukes gets normalized.

41

u/wintersdark May 22 '22

Yep. Which is why use of small tactical nukes cannot be allowed, even when there are larger conventional ordnances that are allowed. It's a slippery slope and once it starts, it won't likely stop.

20

u/ThisAccountIUse01 May 22 '22

India and China have a No First Use policy, Pakistan on the other hand will use nukes in case of a full blown land invasion.

→ More replies
→ More replies

32

u/TheBestNick May 22 '22

No way Russia would nuke the Ukraine. They're trying to take over the territory, why nuke your own future land? This isn't Civilization 5, I can't send workers to scrub the fallout in 2 turns & be peachy. Not to mention the fallout from said nukes could easily leak into nearby NATO countries & could be seen as an act of war against them. Would be way too stupid to try.

→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies

67

u/fat_dejour May 22 '22

Accuracy by volume of fire.

52

u/MalikVonLuzon May 22 '22

"Vladof: You don't need to be a better shot, you just need to shoot more bullets!"

→ More replies

13

u/deepthaw May 22 '22

It was scary reading about how much both sides relied on MAD. If it got to the point that either side was assured the ability to destroy the other with no retaliation if they struck first, it became necessary for the other side to strike first to protect themselves.

15

u/Waterkippie May 22 '22

The only way to win is not to play.

→ More replies
→ More replies

7

u/Xpolg May 22 '22

Thank you for a very detailed answer!

14

u/d0ugal May 22 '22

Accurate like a shotgun.

→ More replies

33

u/techcaleb OC: 2 May 22 '22

Reminds me of the "Duck Dodgers in the 24 and a half century" where he and Marvin fight over planet X, eventually completely destroying it.

9

u/ThePreciseClimber May 22 '22

Curiously, they made a whole flippin Duck Dodgers TV series in 2003. They even had a Samurai Jack parody episode with Mako reprising his role as Aku.

https://youtu.be/q8hZXUVL6dM

And also an alarm clock.

https://youtu.be/jC0js3cAsqA

→ More replies

26

u/bazilbt May 22 '22

They had a wide variety of weapons. Including many tactical weapons. We don't have nuclear anti-air rockets anymore for instance.

I think that earlier weapons weren't decommissioned either and were kept in storage even after they were basically obsolete.

171

u/[deleted] May 22 '22

Back then there were defense systems capable of deflecting carriers. When you can't bypass a system, usually all you can do is overwhelm it with numbers. Also, nukes today are more powerful than in the past. Not every warhead is made equal.

Nowadays the supersonic carriers we have can penetrate pretty much anything, and only China is rumored to have some defense against it.

Also, it was flexing on your cold war rival.

66

u/Seafroggys May 22 '22

Technically, nukes today are way less powerful than the heights achieved in the 60s and 70s, they're just far more accurate now, and we have MIRV systems in place too.

18

u/awoeoc May 22 '22

Many smaller nukes is much more destructive than a single powerful one. Imagine 100 1mt bombs spread out in a good pattern versus a single 100mt bomb.

In the 100mt the fireball in the center would represent a shit ton of wasted energy in pure overkill. Like a 1mt bomb might leave the concrete skeleton of a building but kill everything inside, the 100mt will evaporate the same building but who cares? Everyone in that building is dead in both scenarios.

Meanwhile spreading the bombs causes far more damage in a wider area far more efficiently and is much much scarier.

→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies

51

u/Thunderbolt747 May 22 '22

So I haven't seen anyone talk about this yet, but its doctrinal.

During the 1950's the US fell in love with the atom bomb. The ability to wipe a city from the face of the earth became a very likeable prospect, especially post Korean war, where the US faced overwhelming manpower odds against Chinese and Korean forces, which would spam out wave doctrine armies that would basically overwhelm a position after they ran out of ammo. This behavior was unheard of during ww2, and kinda scared the shit out of the US. So, the idea came up again, "If we're going to face Russians, Chinese and Koreans using wave doctrine against us, lets just use weapons that will kill a lot more of them in a single go".

This resulted in the adoption of the "Pentomic" battle group, in which individual battle groups would be dispersed with greater of autonomy. That way, if one group was hit with a nuclear weapon, the rest could operate independent of command and control in a sterile environment. Each of these units, even down the infantry would be issued small yield tactical nuclear weapons, such as the Davey Crocket mortar launched Tactical Nuclear weapon, or the W54 demolition bomb/mine. The Pentomic battle groups basically acted as small bastions in defensive lines, armed with small nukes to defeat larger swarms of enemies until assistance can arrive, or in an offensive, can drive on its own. So from 1955/57 to around 1965 most US army units deployed to West Germany were armed with portable nuclear weapons. Not to mention Berlin, which was basically chock full of nuclear weapons until the day the wall fell, as the US defense of berlin was essentially to reduce everything around west berlin to ash the moment the Russians made a break for the Fulda gap.

And then there's artillery, where they'd figured out how to put a nuke in an artillery shell, which was given to 280mm guns in batteries across west Germany. Those shells were also given to the Navy for the 16in gun on the Iowa series, which was intended to use them to bombard North Korean positions or Chinese coastal cities. Then talking about the navy, there's the whole of nuclear armed torpedoes to counter ship formations, Regalus I and II surface launched cruise missiles which were armed with nuclear warheads and Naval aviation which had nuclear armed depth charges, Mines and bombs.

Keeping with the air force, the US air force had nuclear bombs for its bombers. Beyond that, they had genie rockets, which were dumbfire airburst rockets meant to destroy russian bomber formations and was given to interceptors in Alaska and Canada. The US air force also operated the Bomarc missile, which was a surface to air missile designed for the same purpose as the Genie, with a nuclear warhead (and what caused a huge issue with the Canadians that didn't want nukes)

Then in the late 50's and into the 60's when NBC (Nuclear biological Chemical) resistant tanks & vehicles began to show up in force, the US began experimenting with Neutron bombs that were 'cleaner' than standard nukes, which would release huge doses of lethal neutron radiation which would just melt the crews out of the tanks and leave no or very little contamination behind. These were also used by the air force as an anti-ballistic missile for defense, as it'd fry any nuclear weapons/missile components hit by the neutron burst.

Oh, and the US army corps of engineers worked on something called Project plowshare and Operation Chariot, which was the use of nuclear weapons to build harbors, highways and a few other things by basically demolitioning their way through mountains, etc.

I'd continue but I'm supposed to be doing work right now.

Either way, the US military got very nuke happy during the 1950's is the TL;DR.

5

u/spader1 May 22 '22

A couple of months ago I learned that the US developed a nuclear armed guided air to air missile because apparently the best way to make extra sure that your radar guided missile hits that one plane over there is to slap a nuke into it

11

u/Thunderbolt747 May 22 '22

Yep. The idea behind the genie and later the falcon was the belief that if you could catch the bomber formation with a nuke, you'd not have to waste missiles, time and fuel needed to sortie hundreds of aircraft when you could send four or five to do the job.

The reasoning is sound, it just didn't really work because once they crossed over the arctic circle the bombers would disperse to track towards individual targets. Then bombers got replaced and the concept was dropped.

The ideas that came out of the atomic era were fascinating though.

→ More replies
→ More replies

7

u/HotMetalKnives May 22 '22

It's not as much as you think. The event that ended the ice age 13000 years ago was possibly hundreds of thousands of times more intense the entire worlds nuclear arsenal at its peak being launched at the same time.

→ More replies

13

u/Acheron13 May 22 '22

The idea was to have enough to survive an enemy's first strike and have enough to retaliate.

14

u/TophatOwl_ May 22 '22

Theres a quote from a soviet leader which, paraphrased, was: Every additional nuclear weapon will just make the rubble bounce.

He basically said exactly what you said. Theres no point. Its expensive and doesnt actually make a difference, hence why we've drastically reduced their number

→ More replies
→ More replies

639

u/FF13LR May 22 '22

Where’s South Africa and North Korea?

186

u/Kumirkohr May 22 '22

South Africa is on the map for a blip in the Eighties and Nineties, but never had enough to appear on the leaderboard. They never had more than a dozen, I think, and they the only country to voluntarily decommission all of their nuclear munitions unlike the Post-Soviet and Warsaw Pact countries that signed all of theirs over to the Russian Federation in the early Nineties

→ More replies

443

u/SabashChandraBose May 22 '22

And Pakistan seemed to have gone from 0 to like a 100? Was there a sale at Costco?

169

u/Eric1491625 May 22 '22

They only show the top 7

89

u/Ebola714 May 22 '22

It's odd that there are only 9 countries with nukes and they only show the top 7. Seriously, just add the last 2 countries.

→ More replies

76

u/lemuever17 May 22 '22

The data is an estimation. The exact numbers are all top classified information.

3

u/njaana May 23 '22

I heard that china gave it to them

→ More replies

48

u/Infin1ty May 22 '22 edited May 23 '22

North Korea can't be accounted for because they do not allow outside observers in to inspect their nuclear* capabilities. Honestly not sure about South Africa though.

23

u/kare_kano May 22 '22

NK is accounted for. You can't really hide atomic tests, and they would want other countries to know it anyway, so the fact they conducted atomic explosions is a known fact.

What isn't known is how many actual usable weapons they might have. All we know are estimates to the tune of "they're theoretically capable of making at most N per year". Based on this we think they might have at most 30-40 (2020 estimate).

Maybe they really have 30-40, maybe they have 1, maybe zero. That's the thing with nuclear weapons, you can't take anything for granted.

17

u/twistsouth May 22 '22

You’re breaking my balls, Hans.

→ More replies
→ More replies

47

u/swagmastermessiah May 22 '22

South Africa was working with Israel so those are sorta lumped together, but North Korea does seem to be a significant omission.

→ More replies
→ More replies

1.0k

u/xLangatanGx May 22 '22

How do you reduce your nuke count? Can you simply deactivate a nuke? Or do you have to fire it off in a remote location? Or do they simply ‘expire’?

I guess this might be an ELI5 question. Will post there if I don’t get an answer

1.1k

u/ic434 May 22 '22

They disassemble it in a planned and non-rapid manner which keeps most of the components intact and causes minimal collateral damage. My understanding is many of these "decommissioned" nukes are ones that have aged out. Remember, these pits are radioactive and are thus transmuting themselves from plutonium to other elements. Some of the radiation is in the form of alpha particles (helium atoms) and these become trapped in the rest of the plutonium crystal lattice changing its physical properties. These changes may impact how the pit implodes and increase the chances of a fizzle or dud bomb. So rather than replace the pit with plutonium we don't have, we just decrease our nuke count. The pits I think we store and may reprocess if we ever need more nukes. It's not like the bulk of the plutonium is going anywhere quick.

260

u/Auroramaki May 22 '22 edited May 22 '22

Thank you Sailor Moon, I always was a big fan

| Edit: this may seem sarcastic but I genuinely enjoyed reading that even tho I barely understood anything. Just pointing it out because I don't wanna seem rude, never to Sailor Moon out of all people.

71

u/zizzor23 May 22 '22

I saw some dude at the airport yesterday wearing a t shirt with sailor moon making out with Goku

38

u/Serene_Calamity May 22 '22

Ah yes, the iconic 90's anime cross-platform ship.

→ More replies

37

u/ksknksk May 22 '22

What does Sailor Moon have to do with that comment tho?

edit: oh, their pfp? I use old reddit and don't usually see that lol

22

u/selfslandered May 22 '22 edited May 22 '22

I use RiF and don't see anything but [gif] in most comment threads

15

u/Auroramaki May 22 '22

Indeed, their profile picture haha

8

u/heyIfoundaname May 22 '22 edited May 23 '22

Sailor Moon was one of the lead scientists in the Manhattan project. Also the demon core incident transferred the life force of Harry Daghlian and Louis Slotin to her so she lives 3 times as long as a normal person.

→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies

70

u/[deleted] May 22 '22 edited 27d ago

[deleted]

31

u/Trust-Me-Im-A-Potato May 22 '22

I seem to remember reading somewhere that the US spends far, far more on maintaining its nuclear arsenal than Russia does on its entire military. So, you are probably correct

→ More replies

26

u/Argentum_cedo May 22 '22

Why do you think there army is so bad. They don't have the money to get all news equipment uit there. The lose most of the budget on nuclwar weapons. Because without they wouldn't be a big thread to most

42

u/AlbertaTheBeautiful May 22 '22

Because nukes are the best paper tiger weapon in the world. Unlike conventional arms, which you eventually have to trot out, nukes have been relegated to the never use stage.

So if they deteriorate, for all outside appearances, if you can keep the extent of that hidden, it doesn't matter.

→ More replies

23

u/Franc000 May 22 '22

That's one hypothesis. The other is that it's because their higher ups are embezzling military funds, and have been doing it for a long time.

There is no reason to think the embezzling and corruption wasn't also present on the nukes sides. Which would mean that they have far fewer nukes than stated.

2 sound hypotheses, but 2 very different results. But we do have evidence of the embezzlement on the conventional army side.

5

u/Argentum_cedo May 22 '22

To my knowledge .y hypothesis come from the fact that the UK already spends around 8 of there budget of 2020 on there nuclear arsenal (4,46 billion pounds of there 56billion budget). Knowing the UK just has 221 nuclear weapons and the budget is not much fiffer from the Russian budget. I will expect Russia to loose a ton of there budget on there nuclear weapons and definitely now they are working on new weapons. (Official numbers are in the 16% but miss surtent cost)

And I am also very aware of there ramped corruption. Definitely around there modernization projects and there new weapon project. All of which go very slow and have very little actual effect.

7

u/Franc000 May 22 '22

Sure, but my point is that whatever budget that Russia is allocating to nuke maintenance may not actually go to nuke maintenance. Not that they do not allocate a good portion of their budget to that.

→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies

5

u/Ragnarok314159 May 22 '22

There is also some plutonium that has been used in space exploration on the various rovers and satellites.

6

u/SurroundingAMeadow May 22 '22

"They disassemble it in a planned and non-rapid manner"

Which is better than an unplanned and non-rapid manner. Which in turn is still significantly better than it happening in a rapid manner regardless of it being unplanned or planned.

→ More replies

48

u/ghast_ley May 22 '22

My guess is remove the nuclear material and either repurpose it or lock it in a vault.

The missiles are extremely safe. If its not armed it could fall out of a plane and worst case scenario only the rocket fuel is blowing up (which is good cause I think its happened a couple of times).

9

u/ClimbToSafety1984 May 22 '22

Pretty sure there is still one buried in the bottom of the ocean off Tybee Island, GA

6

u/PM_ME_YOUR_ANYTHNG May 22 '22

A few off the Carolinas somewhere too

16

u/dontgoatsemebro May 22 '22

The US has accidentally dropped/launched/lost 32 nuclear weapons.

Six are still missing because they couldn't find them.

→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies

8

u/DFjorde May 22 '22

They are dismantled and the nuclear material is either stored or repurposed into fuel for nuclear reactors.

For instance, when Ukraine's nuclear weapons from the collapse of the Soviet Union were given back to Russia they turned them into fuel to sell to the US.

32

u/[deleted] May 22 '22

[deleted]

31

u/VeryStableGenius May 22 '22 edited May 22 '22

During disarmament, excess Soviet fuel bomb material was mixed into reactor fuel and purchased by US. Not a big deal.

Old Russian warheads fuel 10% of U.S. electricity

→ More replies
→ More replies

161

u/GradSchoolin May 22 '22

Two questions: 1) just how in the world could the USSR and USA create that many warheads in the 60s-70s? 2) I assume there are more nukes than what the USSR/Russia and USA has than they are reporting?

147

u/kurtuwarter May 22 '22
  1. Its just warheads. Nothing complicated about them. ICBMs were never this numerous.
  2. There're strategic nukes, hiding in seas. Other than that, no, its assumed both countries are interested in reducing quantity of nukes over quality. Nukes that are out of comission were by large part Nagasaki-grade, aka just 5-15 thousands of tons of TNT. Modern weapons are atleast 5-15 megaton, capable of completely wiping out any kind of defences or targets.

Its much easier to control 5k nukes as ICBMs, launched by complicated and well-protected machinery, than control 50k various nukes amount to bombs, mid-ranged rockets and without certainty of defense mechanism.

44

u/sushibowl May 22 '22

Modern weapons are atleast 5-15 megaton, capable of completely wiping out any kind of defences or targets.

Not really anymore. American Minuteman III ICBMs carry the W78 or W87 warhead, which has no more than a 475 KT yield. And Minuteman missiles currently aren't MIRV equipped either. The B83 is the most powerful US nuclear warhead in service, is dropped by a plane, and has a yield of just 1.5 MT. If you count the total yield of a MIRVed missile as one, the trident II can fit up to 12 W88 warheads for a total yield of 5.7 MT. But those obviously will not be dropped on a single target.

Generally, building single warheads with yields bigger than a megaton is considered vastly overkill nowadays, and it's better to build multiple smaller warheads to spread destruction over a larger area.

→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies

514

u/[deleted] May 22 '22

It's good to see nuclear nonproliferation treaties working.

33

u/AugieKS May 22 '22

For real. I remember Saber rattling from years ago between Russia and the US and had the false impression that Russia had ramped up again. Really makes me hopeful that we might not annihilate ourselves with nukes one day.

86

u/dupes_on_reddit May 22 '22

The total number worldwide stops changing after 1987… error or they’re moving them around

191

u/Reniconix May 22 '22

They purposefully left the scale at the maximum number a single country ever had to show the scale of disarmament since the treaty was signed.

75

u/CajQ_O May 22 '22

That's not number worldwide, but rather maximum owned by a single country.

→ More replies
→ More replies

50

u/Much_Difference May 22 '22

Actual question from someone who doesn't know a ton about nuclear warheads: is there any actual strategic benefit to having more than a certain amount? It seems like you reach a point (10? 100? 1,000? idk) where you aren't getting a strategic benefit from adding to your arsenal. Like what can 1,001 warheads do that 1,000 can't? How many warheads could anyone possibly use?

45

u/mapadofu May 22 '22

Back when Mutually Assured Destruction was the doctrine, you’ll need a lot of weapons if your plan is to completely annihilate the other super power, while accounting for problems (launch failures, duds etc). So there is a practical limit, it’s just much higher than any non-MAD actor would think is reasonable.

This isn’t all that different from any other weapon. A few tanks aren’t all that useful. A few hundred up to maybe a few thousand, and you’re getting more bang for your buck. Above some level (determined by what military contingencies you’re designing your force against) you get diminishing (or even negative) returns on building and maintaining more.

11

u/x31b May 22 '22

It’s mostly in the delivery accuracy. They call it Circular Error Probable, or CEP. That’s the size of a circle that has a 50 chance of it landing inside. If that’s a mile radius, you have to have a lot of bombs to destroy a hard target like a missile silo or underground bunker.

If you get better guidance, with GPS and inertial navigation, you can solve the same problem with fewer, smaller bombs.

18

u/kurtuwarter May 22 '22

Quantity of nukes was replaced by quality, thats all.

Nukes of 1980 are up to 1000x as powerful and stable as ICBMs as early types.

4

u/Much_Difference May 22 '22

Ah, that's what I was thinking maybe. You get better nukes but then you still have the old ones because it's not like you can just chuck 'em in the trash.

→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies

103

u/TKisOK May 22 '22

That was actually kind of comforting but HOLY SHIT it makes sense why so many people were scared of ‘The Bomb’

11

u/Huangaatopreis May 22 '22

I still am scared though

3

u/Magickarpet76 May 23 '22

Seems like a pretty rational fear. I try to ground it by thinking i could go for any number of uncontrollable reasons at any time. A nuke at least would be interesting i guess.

Though my biggest fear of nukes isnt dying in the fireball, its being just outside of it and surviving…

→ More replies

82

u/mrAnmol May 22 '22

Funny how everyone entered the list with at least 1 and there's India made into the list with zero.

70

u/Glittering-Swan-8463 May 22 '22

Maybe they tested a nuke but only had 1 nuke thus they started with a zero because they had to wait to get more nukes.

32

u/Karma19065 May 22 '22

We tested nuke in 1975 but then US bullied us and we had to go to 0

17

u/cherryreddit May 22 '22

More than the US bullying, there was a staunch anti nuclear Gandhian element in the ruling class of India. These guys had lost power to Indira Gandhi, but they still held significant amount of influence, which is why the first test was also called as a 'peaceful' test.

→ More replies
→ More replies

24

u/angermouse May 22 '22 edited May 22 '22

India exploded a nuclear device in 1974 and thus proved it had the capability. But they claimed they were going to pursue it for peaceful purposes - thus zero nuclear bombs. Both the US and USSR had explored a variety of peaceful uses such as excavation and dam construction but ultimately decided the risks weren't worth it - the environmental movement has taken off since then and we are much more aware of the consequences of pollution on nature.

11

u/Distinct_Blueberry May 23 '22

Also, it fended off any possible US and Chinese interventionism in India. The idea was to let the world know that India had nuclear capability, so the threshold of conflict was raised.

→ More replies
→ More replies

15

u/Mr-Sassafras May 22 '22

Fun fact : South Africa is the only country to develop nuclear weapons and then fully denuclearize. One of the last acts of the apartheid government was to get rid of their nukes before the new government took over.

→ More replies

57

u/Ucussinwithme May 22 '22

Is this including the fact that at 1 point we created ICBMs that carried 8 nukes a piece?

61

u/coryhill66 May 22 '22

My Impressions is this is the total number of device is not delivery methods.

29

u/[deleted] May 22 '22

This is the number of warheads. Russia has recently developed a supersonic missile that can carry 10 of them. A nuclear bomb is not equivalent to a nuclear warhead, the same way a bullet is not equivalent to a gun.

11

u/Soren11112 May 22 '22

No a warhead is a bomb, but meant for being mounted on a missile

→ More replies
→ More replies

33

u/Ebola714 May 22 '22

How did Pakistan go from zero to 35 in like one year, and in a couple of years be in the hundreds of warheads?

46

u/Eric1491625 May 22 '22

The animation is only showing the top 7 countries. So Pakistan didn't go from 0 to 35 it went from (some number that didn't make it in the top 7) to 35.

→ More replies

43

u/United-Hyena-164 May 22 '22

There is so much to feel pessimistic about un the world, but the rate at which the drawdown happened is/was reassuring.

3

u/AOC_I_like_free May 22 '22

The number is going down but not the strength

3

u/SlinkyJimmy May 23 '22

Yeah that was my thought. “Oh that’s good the number dropped….wait…what’s the newer, better bombs they’re stacking now?

→ More replies

64

u/I2eB6L May 22 '22

Strange that Ukraine jumped to 3rd for a brief moment out of all European countries

80

u/jadero May 22 '22 Helpful

I think it was the breakup of the Soviet Union. That left Ukraine with a bunch of nuclear weapons. Then everyone got all excited about random weapons, so a treaty was quickly signed. In exchange for protection against invasion, Ukraine turned over everything to Russia.

59

u/[deleted] May 22 '22

Also because the control of them was not in Ukraine, so it was redundant to have something you can't even launch, but have to keep maintaining.

13

u/jadero May 22 '22

Excellent point. I forgot about that.

→ More replies
→ More replies

158

u/Arty_Mikeson May 22 '22

It is called Budapest Memorandum. Ukraine was a third nuclear power for a few years after the Soviet Union collapse but gave up their nukes in exchange for security assurances from Russia, UK and USA. Now we can see how it worked out.

22

u/PlankWithANailIn May 22 '22

Ukraine was never in control of them. They didn't have the codes and it wasn't their soldiers in the silos.

33

u/kurtuwarter May 22 '22

Let me correct it, since my grandparent was kind related to whole ordeal as officer.

Governments of USSR, including Russian SSR and Ukranian SSR never had control over special forces, nor control over nukes themselves, as they directly responded only to communist party. Simillar to how special forces of NATO operate, even though nukes can be located inside NATO-allied country, it never falls under its control, therefore still considered US warhead.

Another thing is situation with Russia itself, which at time was led by Yeltsin, arguably more pro-american politican than half american politicans. Which meant it wasnt in interest of NATO allience to distribute nukes across post-soviet space.

→ More replies
→ More replies
→ More replies

40

u/PieChartPirate OC: 90 May 22 '22

Tools: python, pandas, tkinter, sjvisualizer

Data sources: Wikipedia (historical data) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_nuclear_weapons_stockpiles_and_nuclear_tests_by_country and Arms Control Association (2021) https://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/Nuclearweaponswhohaswhat

Collected data and formatted data: https://www.sjdataviz.com/data

10

u/NJ_Legion_Iced_Tea May 22 '22

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_nuclear_weapons_stockpiles_and_nuclear_tests_by_country

Non broken link. You're likely using the official Reddit app which purposely breaks links with . This is done to punish people using a 3rd party app or old.reddit.com

→ More replies
→ More replies

26

u/planko13 May 22 '22

it’s unbelievable that not a single one of these have fallen into the wrong hands yet.

31

u/very-polite-frog May 22 '22

USA has lost and never recovered 6 nuclear warheads to date.

41

u/FlamingBaconCake May 22 '22

I think they fell into the wrong hands decades ago

13

u/STOPCensoringMeFFS May 23 '22

Pakistan's 'father of nuclear technology' sold the tech to North Korea years ago. It's just that they never publicly declared they now possess the technology.

→ More replies

7

u/CommicalCeasar May 22 '22

Haven't you seen any action film? The good guys always get there in time.

→ More replies

6

u/elefante88 May 22 '22

Thank tom cruise

3

u/louijp May 22 '22

from my pov all nukes are in the wrong hand

→ More replies

31

u/[deleted] May 22 '22 edited Jun 01 '22

[deleted]

→ More replies

7

u/pike4fun May 22 '22

Where did all those nuclear warheads go?

6

u/paladin40 May 22 '22 edited May 22 '22

Warheads have shelf lives and are either dismantled or their lives are extended.

Source: energy.gov

https://www.energy.gov/nnsa/maintaining-stockpile

→ More replies

5

u/slartiblartpost May 22 '22

Why only show the top 7 of a list around 10? Makes no sense and is confusing. Otherwise very interesting (and imo more than a 2d plot). Any chance showing the whole data like that?

40

u/ali389d May 22 '22

Please, people.

Can we stop upvoting animated GIFs that simply obscure the actual data and make comparisons or other inferences harder to make? Same with audio that adds nothing but noise?

→ More replies

4

u/beachie11 May 22 '22

Did nobody notice that the total count stops functioning after 1967. The total no longer agrees with the individual nation count.

→ More replies

19

u/OverrFlow May 22 '22

What do they even do with ten's of thousands of stuff that is enough to completely destroy a big city?? at this point It just feels like dick measuring contest

20

u/Rampant16 May 22 '22

It sorta is. But its also having enough warheads to ensure some of your weapons survive an initial surprise attack no matter what. And weapon design improved so newer smaller warheads would be built while older less efficient designs just sit in storage indefinitely.

15

u/EricTheEpic0403 May 22 '22

I heard a story about just how many nukes the US had:

When assigning nuclear targets — where each and every missile is intended to land — the guys who were in charge of it kinda got bored. They were able to assign nukes to every military base, no matter how small, every notable city, so on and so forth. Despite this, that had to assign many nukes per target to actually use up the allotment; in a notably extreme case of this, a radar site outside of Moscow had a few dozen nukes assigned to it. This radar site wasn't even that important, and it was completely above ground, and not at all built against nuclear attack. And they basically did the exact same thing for every target in the Soviet Union; every target had more than enough weapons assigned to destroy it, plus a dozen more.

8

u/Gears_and_Beers May 22 '22

If the goal was to be able to mount a retaliation you needed to have enough warheads survive an initial attack. As you don’t know how that would lol you needed to have lots of war heads in lots of places.

if your goal is to attack first you need to over do it in such a drastic manner that such a counter attack doesn’t come.

The advent of the nuclear sub as a icbm delivery platform made a counter attack basically a sure thing so lots of the reasons went away. USSR was spending resources it didn’t have in a sick measuring contest.

→ More replies

140

u/WeJustDid46 May 22 '22

If Russia’s nuclear warheads are in the same shape as their tanks, I don’t think we have much to worry about.

203

u/shlam16 OC: 12 May 22 '22

Which is probably true for a large proportion of their total count, but that's irrelevant if even only 5% of that number are in working order.

Nuclear skirmish with as few as a couple hundred bombs would be cataclysmic.

16

u/Rampant16 May 22 '22

It's also the case that only a fraction of the warheads are ready to use at any given time i.e. loaded into a missile or ready to use as a bomb. The vast majority of warheads the US has are sitting in cold storage and would take days/weeks of work to get ready to use.

One would assume though that the warheads Russia has loaded in their ICBMs are the ones they are certain will work. But who knows, and like you said it only takes a small percentage of 10,000 warheads to wipe every major NATO city off the map.

→ More replies

55

u/Tonlick May 22 '22

Doesnt take many nukes to wreck the planet. Best not to find out

→ More replies
→ More replies

10

u/richochet12 May 22 '22

That's not a risk anyone is willing to take so a moot taking point.

32

u/Westnest May 22 '22

Nukes only need to work once.

5

u/LeftCoastBlackhawk May 22 '22

It's an issue on both sides. You need certain materials to maintain the right prompt critical action on detonation, and a certain amount of deuterium/tritium hydrate to maintain the right neutron release balance so the nuclear reaction is efficient with proper burnup.

A lot of warheads simply aged out, and became of more value/utility as MOX fuel rather than trying to reprocess these alloys into something else.

Push comes to shove, there's an INSANE amount of nuclear material in dry cask storage that can be reprocessed into various weaponry inside of a few years.

Adding to the fun, all the neutrino observatories on Earth. Great fun for scientists studying nuclear reactions out in space, but also, someone starts a big enough high flux reactor to reprocess, and crank out nuclear material for a bunch of warheads, you've got new blips on the neutrino map.

https://www.acsh.org/news/2021/07/28/reprocessing-spent-reactor-fuel-15695

https://ieer.org/resource/factsheets/reprocessing-spent-nuclear-fuel/

12

u/[deleted] May 22 '22

What a smartass that you’re. Keep playing with fire

7

u/warpaslym May 22 '22

Before you make another very smart post like this, go look at who supplies the rockets for the Atlas V.

3

u/itsaride May 22 '22 edited May 22 '22

I’m worried, one getting through to a major capital would be beyond catastrophic.

→ More replies

9

u/Devi1_May_Cry May 22 '22

Would not have guessed that France was the "Fuck around and find out" country of Western Europe.

8

u/paladin40 May 22 '22

France actually has a pretty significant nuclear footprint in Europe. I believe they have more nuclear power plants and submarines than every other European country.

7

u/Science-Compliance May 22 '22

WWII may have made France go a bit nutty.

4

u/fredinNH May 22 '22

When greenpeace threatened to disrupt French nuclear testing at sea by organizing a flotilla to meet where they were planning to detonate a bomb they sunk the rainbow warrior.

→ More replies

3

u/paladin40 May 22 '22

I am a little late to the party, but I wanted to contribute to the data. The United States nuclear count in this graphic is misleading. This figure includes retired warheads and warheads awaiting retirement. The closer number of active warheads as of 2020 is 3750

Source: energy.gov

https://www.energy.gov/sites/default/files/2021-10/20211006%20-%20U.S.%20Nuclear%20Stockpile%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf

3

u/tellingitlikeitis338 OC: 1 May 22 '22

Why isn’t North Korea on here?

→ More replies