Countries with nuclear weapons

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Countries with nuclear weapons

The United States conducted its first nuclear test explosion in July 1945 and dropped two atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945.

Just four years later, the Soviet Union conducted its first nuclear test explosion.

The United Kingdom (1952), France (1960), and China (1964) followed.

Seeking to prevent the nuclear weapon ranks from expanding further, the United States and other like-minded states negotiated the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1968 and the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) in 1996.

Eight sovereign states have publicly announced successful detonation of nuclear weapons.

Five are considered to be nuclear-weapon states (NWS) under the terms of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

Since the NPT entered into force in 1970, three states that were not parties to the Treaty have conducted overt nuclear tests, namely India, Pakistan, and North Korea.

North Korea had been a party to the NPT but withdrew in 2003.

Israel is also generally understood to have nuclear weapons, but does not acknowledge it, maintaining a policy of deliberate ambiguity.

States That Had Nuclear Weapons or Nuclear Weapons Programs at One Time

Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine inherited nuclear weapons following the Soviet Union’s 1991 collapse, but returned them to Russia and joined the NPT as non-nuclear-weapon states.

South Africa secretly developed but subsequently dismantled its small number of nuclear warheads and also joined the NPT in 1991.

Iraq had an active nuclear weapons program prior to the 1991 Persian Gulf War, but was forced to verifiably dismantle it under the supervision of UN inspectors. The U.S.-led March 2003 invasion of
Iraq and subsequent capture of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein definitively ended his regime’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Libya voluntarily renounced its secret nuclear weapons efforts in December 2003.

Argentina, Brazil, South Korea, and Taiwan also shelved nuclear weapons programs.

#CountryWarheadsCTBT StatusFirst TestFirst Test NameFirst Test SiteTotal tests
1United States6185SignatoryMon, Jul 16, 1945TrinityAlamogordo, New Mexico1,054
2Russia6490RatifierMon, Aug 29, 1949RDS-1Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan715
3France300RatifierSat, Feb 13, 1960Gerboise BleueSahara, French Algeria201
4United Kingdom200RatifierFri, Oct 3, 1952HurricaneMonte Bello Island, Australia45
5China290SignatoryFri, Oct 16, 1964596Lop Nur, Xingjiang45
6India140Non-signatorySat, May 18, 1974Smiling BuddhaPokhran, Rajasthan6
7Pakistan160Non-signatoryThu, May 28, 1998Chagai-1Chagai, Balochistan6
8North Korea30Non-signatoryMon, Oct 9, 2006Kilju, North Hamgyong6
9Israel90SignatorySat, Sep 22, 1979


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