In August 1945, the United States military dropped the most devastating weapon ever built on Hiroshima, Japan. Then it dropped another one on Nagasaki. Nearly 60 years later, the impact of those two bombs is still seared into our collective consciousness; they stirred up a persistent nuclear nightmare we have yet to awaken from. But we haven't stopped building the bombs.
A new report from the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, "Global nuclear weapons inventories, 1945–2013," says that since that fiery event at the tail end of World War II, human beings have built 125,000 more nuclear warheads. And 97 percent of them were built by the US and Russia. The report offers a fascinating synopsis of how many warheads are out there, who built what, and how far we have to go before we approach true nuclear disarmament.
There are nine nations with confirmed nuclear stockpiles, and those with smaller arsenals—or those, like Israel, that haven't really fessed up to having any at all—are harder to count.
The US alone built 65,500 warheads since 1945, 59,000 of which have been disassembled. France, the third-biggest nuclear weapons holder, has built approximately 1,260 warheads since the '60s, but now has only 300 active ones. Britain has, over the course of its nuclear program, produced around 1,250 nuclear weapons, but now holds less than 400. China has built about 650 since its program began in 1964, and Israel is estimated to have built 80. Both India and Pakistan have produced around 100 warheads. Russia produced the rest of the 125,000 total.