Striving to aid global efforts to control the spread of nuclear weapons and in a reversal of Trump administration policy, Biden administration disclosed on Tuesday the US nuclear stockpile for the first time in the last three years, The Hill reports.
Trump administration refused to disclose the information for the past two years at the request of the Federation of American Scientists (FAS).
FAS stressed at the time that in addition to undercutting the US ability to push for greater transparency among nuclear-armed states, the refusal to disclose warhead stockpile and dismantlement data also weakens the US’s ability to demonstrate good faith on its efforts to continue to reduce its nuclear arsenal.
FAS has again this year submitted a request for the US government to disclose requested info with regards to the US nuclear stockpile.
The director of the Nuclear Information Project at FAS, Hans Kristensen, has praised Biden administration’s decision as a return to transparency, underscoring that it will help US diplomats in arms control negotiations at next year’s Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty conference.
According to the last report the US submitted in in 2018, the US last disclosed the size of the nuclear stockpile in 2017 had been reported as 3,822 warheads.
As of September 2020, as the report provided by the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) shows, the US stockpile includes 3,750 both active and inactive warheads.
According to the explanations included in the report, the active warheads (strategic and non-strategic) have tritium bottles and other Limited Life Components installed and are maintained in an operational, ready-for-use configuration for possible deployment within a short timeframe.
The inactive warheads have their tritium bottles removed and are maintained at a depot in a non-operational status.
The NNSA stressed that it’s important to increase the transparency of states’ nuclear stockpiles to strengthen the nonproliferation and disarmament efforts. That includes commitments under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as well as the efforts to address all types of nuclear weapons.
The agency stated that the current US nuclear stockpile number is an approximate 88% reduction from its maximum (31,255) in 1967, around 83% percent reduction from its level (22,217) in late 1989, when the Berlin Wall fell.