The risk of nuclear weapons being used is higher “than at any time since the height of the Cold War,” the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), a leading weapons watchdog, has warned. The shrinking global stockpile of nuclear weapons is now expected to begin growing once again, according to SIPRI Yearbook 2022.
While greatly reducing their stockpiles after the end of the Cold War, the US and Russia combined still possess over 90% of the world’s nuclear warheads, according to the report. According to SIPRI’s estimates, Russia has around 5,977 warheads, and the US has around 5,428.
“Overall, the number of nuclear warheads in the world continues to decline, but this is primarily due to Russia and the USA dismantling retired warheads,” the yearbook reads. “Global reductions of operational warheads appear to have stalled, and their numbers may be rising again. At the same time, both Russia and the USA have extensive and expensive programmes under way to replace and modernize their nuclear warheads, missile and aircraft delivery systems, and nuclear weapon production facilities.”