The number of nuclear weapons is likely to increase in the next decade though there was a slight decline in stocks between January 2021 and January 2022, shows the forecast that the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) published on Monday.
SIPRI report published in its Yearbook for 2022 presents a ‘worrying trend’ that the nuclear stocks are expected to grow over the coming decade considering the continuing modernization of the nuclear arsenals in all nine nuclear-armed states: the US, Russia, the UK, France, China, India, Pakistan, Israel as well as North Korea.
Wilfred Wan, Director of the institute’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Program pointed out in a press release that not only that all of the nuclear-armed states are increasing or upgrading their arsenals but most of them are even sharpening the role nuclear weapons play in their military strategies as well as their nuclear rhetoric.
According to the institute, the current total of warheads is estimated at 12,705.
The report shows that the US and Russia possess over 90% of the world’s nuclear weapons with the other nuclear-armed states either developing/ deploying new weapon systems or intending to do so.
According to satellite images, China, in particular, is especially active in the field and is currently expanding its arsenal, constructing over 300 massive new silos.
Bask in Europe, France has recently started developing a third-generation nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine (SSBN) while the UK announced last year increasing the ceiling on its total warhead stockpile.
However, SIPRI mentions as a positive sign the January 3 statement in which the nuclear-armed countries which are permanent members of the UN Security Council reaffirmed their commitment to comply with non-proliferation, disarmament, and arms control agreements.
Yet, Director Dan Smith emphasized in the SIPRI press release that the risk of nuclear weapons being used seems higher now than at any time since the height of the cold war.