We ranked the world's nuclear arsenals - here's why China's came out on top
- Of 9 nations that control the world's 14,200 some odd nuclear weapons, Russia's bombs could most easily end all life on earth.
- But a nuclear arsenal can't just be judged on how deadly it is.
- Nuclear nations must be judged on their execution of nuclear projects, their safety and responsibility in nuclear enterprises, whether or not they accomplish their nuclear missions, and the cohesiveness of their nuclear doctrine in addition to just making things go "boom."
- Business Insider spoke to a nuclear weapons expert and concluded that China has the world's best nuclear arsenal, though not nearly the biggest or most ready to fight.
Russian President Vladimir Putin confirmed long-held rumors in the US intelligence community in a speech on March 1, 2018, by announcing Russia had built an underwater nuclear device capable of killing millions in a single blast and rendering thousands of square miles uninhabitable for decades.
The US, Russia's main nuclear rival, had no answer for this weapon. No defenses in place can stop it, no emergency response plans in place address it, and no forthcoming projects to counter or neuter it.On the surface, the doomday torpedo represents unrivaled capability of nuclear destruction, but a nuclear arsenal's worth rests on many factors, not just its ability to kill.
Eight nations control the world's 14,200 some odd nuclear weapons, and another nation holds an additional 80 or so as an open secret.
Nuclear weapons, once thought of as the ultimate decider in warfare, have seen use exactly twice in conflict, both times by the US during World War II.
Since then, nuclear weapons have taken on a role as a deterrent. The US and Russia, Cold War rivals for decades, have not fought head-to-head since the dawn of the nuclear era, owing at least in part to fear that a conflict would escalate into mutual, and then global destruction.
What makes a good nuclear arsenal? First, a good nuclear doctrine. Will a country strike first, or only in response? Second, saftey. Are the nukes secure? Does the country participate in nonproliferation treaties? Third, do the nukes work as intended? Is the arsenal sufficient? Can the nukes survive an initial attack?
In the slides below, Business Insider has weighed these questions with the help of Hans Kristensen, the director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists, to rank the world's nuclear arsenals.