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Nuclear war threat now highest since end of the Cold War as Russia, US and China boost arsenals, warns chilling report

NUCLEAR war is now more likely than at any time since the end of Cold War, according to a chilling new report.

Global superpowers are warned to be set to increase their nuclear arsenals, replacing old tech with new terrifying weapons.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) published the new report as they warned the risk of “nuclear weapons being used seems higher now than at any time since the height of the Cold War”.

Russia, the United States, China, Britain, France, India, Pakistan, Israel and North Korea are the world’s nine nuclear-armed powers.

And with tensions raging over Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, Xi Jinping’s ambitions to take Taiwan, and Kim Jong-un’s quest for even more nukes – the world sits on a knife edge.

Nine nuclear powers could also soon become ten – with Iran seeking to also get hold of their own nukes.

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Nuclear weapons have only ever been used once in combat before as the US dropped two bombs on Japan in a controversial move credited as ending World War Two.

The weapons are the most destructive devices ever made by mankind – casting the shadow of Armageddon over the world since 1945.

Nukes are capable of levelling cities, killing millions, leaving irradiated areas uninhabitable, changing the weather, and causing health defects for generations.

And horrifying new weapons remain in development, with Russia boasting about its “nation killing” Satan 2 and China feared to have fired a game-changing hypersonic missile.

SIPRI warned there are an estimated 12,705 nuclear weapons ready for use and in stockpiles across the world – with the US and Russia have the largest arsenals.

The global stockpile has slightly fallen in 2022 – but the experts warned this is simply down to older nukes being dismantled.

And while some warheads are being taken out of services, nations are attempting to boost and modernise their weapons.

SIPRI warns the number of nuclear weapons will “probably increase in the next decade”.

It estimates around 2,000 nukes – nearly all of which belonged to Russia or the USA – were kept in a “state of high operational alert”.

The risk of nuclear weapons being used seems higher now than at any time since the height of the Cold War

Dan Smith

Dan Smith, director of SIPRI, said: “Although there were some significant gains in both nuclear arms control and nuclear disarmament in the past year, the risk of nuclear weapons being used seems higher now than at any time since the height of the Cold War.”

SIPRI warns China is “in the middle of a substantial expansion of its nuclear weapon arsenal”.

Satellite pictures show 300 new missile silos being built, new missile launchers and submarines have been deployed, and Beijing is believed to have assigned more warheads to its forces.

North Korea meanwhile is estimated to have now actually assembled 20 warheads – with estimates for previous years just counting potential weapons based on their nuclear material.

Wilfred Wan, director of SIPRI’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Programme, said: “All of the nuclear-armed states are increasing or upgrading their arsenals and most are sharpening nuclear rhetoric and the role nuclear weapons play in their military strategies.”

The report notes Iran and the US may be attempting to restart negotiations to revive the nuclear deal that was axed by former US President Donald Trump.

Iran pledged in the agreement to not pursue nukes in exchange for relief from sanctions.

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Israel however have warned that Iran is getting dangerously close to developing a nuclear weapon already – despite denials from Tehran.

Hans M. Kristensen, associate senior fellow with SIPRI’s Weapons of Mass Destruction Programme, said: “There are clear indications that the reductions that have characterized global nuclear arsenals since the end of the Cold War have ended.”




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